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Full text of "A descriptive catalogue of useful fiber plants of the world, including the structural and economic classifications of fibers"

Historic, archived document 

Do not assume content reflects current 
scientific knowledge, policies, or practices 



UNITED STATES 

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE 

LIBRARY 




Book number 



MJ8544 



USDA, National Agricultural Ubral* 

NALBldg • 

10301 Baltimore Blvd | 

Beltsville, MD 20705-2351 & 



Report No. 9, Office of Fiber Investigations. 



Frontispiece. 




v u 



Report No. 9. 

U. S DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. 

FIBER INVESTIGATIONS. 



A DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD, 



INCLUDING 



THE STRUCTURAL AND ECONOMIC CLASSIFICATIONS OF FIBERS. 



CHAS. RICHARDS DODGE, 

Special Agent. 




WASHINGTON: 

GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFIC: 
1897. 



LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL. 



I'mti'.i) States Department of Ag-ricttltuke, 

Office of Fiber Investigations, 

Washington, D. C, January :?. 1897. 

Sir: 1 have the honor to submit herewith the manuscript ot a 
descriptive catalogue of 1,018 species of useful fibers of the world. No 
similar work has previously been published in this country, and no 
work has appeared in any country with, so full descriptive lists of the 
commercial and native fibers of the people of the globe, the compila- 
tion embodying notes, observation, and research by the author during 
a period of over twenty-five years. During the preparation of the 
work for publication the author has had the assistance of fiber experts, 
botanists, and others, in many lands, and it is thought the volume will 
prove a valuable contribution not only to the literature of economic 
industries but to ethno-botany as well. 

The demand made upon the Department for information regarding 
every phase of the fiber industry shows the extent of the industrial 
interest in fibers and their manufacture, while the popular interest in 
this subject is evinced by the constant applications received by the 
Department from teachers in our colleges and schools for fiber speci- 
mens and literature. To these two classes especially the work will 
prove most useful, and at the same time it is hoped that it may be of 
assistance to those writers upon industrial topics who from lack of 
authoritative information regarding new fibers have sometimes been 
led into error and misstatement. The alphabetical arrangement of the 
titles, which include both the common and botanical names of the fiber 
plants described, affords a ready means of referring to any desired 

species. 

In the portions relating to the study and uses of fibers and on fiber 
identification the technology of fiber work is presented in the hope 
that more attention may be given to this work by American students, 
as it opens u\) a broad field of practical research. 
I am. respectfully, 

Chas. Richards Dodge, 
Special Agent, in Charge of Fiber Investigations. 
lion. J. Steeling .Morton, 

Seeretary. 



o<>85!4 



PREFACE. 



A little over twenty years ago at the Philadelphia International 
Exhibition of 1876, while the writer was acting for the United States 
Department of Agriculture, but under the direction of the late Prof. 
Spencer F. Baird, the foundation of this work was laid. The exhibi- 
tion of 1876 brought to this country many superb collections illustrating 
the arts and industries of the world, none of these being more interest- 
ing or complete than the collections of textiles and textile manufacture. 
Prominent among the collections of raw fibers were those contributed 
by the Australian colonies, including the magnificent series of New 
Zealand flax and flax products. These, with many other collections, 
in different fields, were presented to the United States Government at 
the close of the exhibition, the agricultural products coming to the 
Department of Agriculture, while the animal and mineral collections 
went to the National Museum. 

Next to the Australian collections of fibers, those from the several 
South American Republics which were represented in the exhibition 
were particularly instructive, and it was mainly through the interest 
developed by the superb collections of these two regions of the globe 
that the descriptive list of fibers which appeared in the annual report 
of this Department for 1879 was prepared by the writer. The Austra- 
lian exhibit was particularly interesting and valuable, as it illustrated 
a series of experiments in economic fiber investigation conducted by 
Dr. Guilfoyle, director of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens, the specimens 
being properly and systematically labeled and accompanied by valu- 
able notes and descriptive matter. 

It was this collection, with its carefully prepared notes, that laid the 
foundation of the present work, in which has been embodied the notes 
of collections from every important international exhibition since that of 
1876, and which has been largely augmented by the results of personal 
study, observation, and investigation during many years, as well as 
through the more recent examination of all available publications relat- 
ing to the subject. 

The result has been the enumeration of 1,018 species of useful fiber 
plants, the more important of which are fully described and treated 
from the botanical, agricultural, and industrial standpoints ; being 
described or referred to under their scientific, commercial, common, and 
native names (as far as the latter could be obtained and properly veri- 
fied) ; the kind of fiber produced, the part of the plant producing it, as 
well as the position of the species in the vegetable kingdom, being indi- 
cated, and in some instances the name of museum or museums stated 
where specimens of the fiber are preserved. The first pages were 
definitely prepared for publication about three years ago, after the close 

3 



4 PREFACE. 

of the World's Columbian Exposition, and the work has been pushed, 
with only brief interruptions, from that time until the date of its 
completion. 

The object of the work has been to bring together in one volume, 
arranged for ready reference, a descriptive list of such useful libers of 
the world as are known to be or that have been employed commercially, 
or those prepared by the natives in the countries where they abound, 
or that have been the subject of experiment, and shown at prominent 
industrial exhibitions. Xaturally the siurple list of commercial species 
would make an insignificant showing; the experimental list would be 
much larger, the greater number of species therefore coming into the 
category of " native" fibers, of which the Indian hemp (Apocynum c<oi- 
nabinum), the plant that supplies several North American Indian tribes 
with material for their cordage, fish lines, and nets, is an example. 

The fiber economists find a most interesting study in these native 
forms. The native or aboriginal American fibers have never before 
been brought together in any way approaching a complete list, and in 
this particular especially it is hoped that the work will prove a valuable 
contribution to the literature of the economic botany of our country. 

In like manner, with the aid of Mexican and South American botanists 
and observers, the Central and South American lists have been greatly 
augmented. The Australian list is very full, and with the list of fibers 
of India, which have been so carefully worked up by Dr. George Watt 
in the Dictionary of the Economic Products of India, and the lists of 
the more commonly known species from other portions of the globe, the 
work in its entirety presents a more complete catalogue of the world's 
useful fibers than doubtless has before been brought together. 

The more than 1,000 species of fibers that are enumerated have been 
described under the names by which they are known to botanists rather 
than under their common names, the scientific designation more clearly 
indicating the precise plant that is meant, while showing at the same 
time its exact position in the vegetable kingdom; The common and 
native names of the different species, however, as far as known, have 
been given place in the alphabetical arrangement, with the name of the 
country making use of such common or native names, and followed by 
a reference to the botanical species. The descriptive matter, therefore, 
may be readily referred to under any name by which the species may 
be known, provided it is known to this work. 

In the scientific nomenclature, the Index Kewensis has been gen- 
erally followed, exceptions being made in the case of some American 
species, which are referred to under names that are in most common 
use by American botanists. 

The common and native names comprise three classes: (1) The com- 
mon English names or the recognized commercial names, which in 
some instances have been derived from native appellations; (2) the 
native names which are universally recognized as the common names 
of the plants in the countries where grown; (3) the tribal, vernacular, 



PREFACE. O 

or local names, which, in some instances, are unknown even m the 
countries to which the plant is native in localities remote from the dis- 
tricts where it grows. The vernacular names of the plants of India are 
legion, nearly every district or province having several, which may be 
either widely or only slightly different, from the names of the same 
plants growing in a neighboring province. It would be undesirable, 
therefore, if not impossible, to reproduce a considerable number of 
these local or vernacular names; and another trouble with such names 
is the liability of error through their orthography. Many of them 
doubtless have been spelled phonetically by the different authorities, 
and the difference between chiti and jiti, as an example, is sufficiently 
great to suggest two different plants, when the same thing is meant 
by both spellings. No doubt vernacular names have been multiplied 
in this manner, resulting in more or less confusion. 

Another source of confusion has been the use of names generically 
that have been applied to a particular species, or vice versa. "Mahoe" 
and "silk grass" as English common names and u pita v and u keratto v 
as native names are examples. The keratto of Jamaica is Agave Mor- 
risii; the keratto of the Leeward Islands is Agave polyantha, but a 
dozen other species of Agave may be known as keratto in other places, 
or keratto may stand for the whole group of Agaves. Silk grass means 
anything from coarse Agave fiber to the delicate filament drawn from 
pineapple leaves. It will be seen, therefore, with the indiscriminate 
use of such familiar common names, how difficult it may be to avoid 
falling into error, and when we consider vernacular or tribal names, 
error is almost unavoidable. Regarding this point the author and com- 
piler begs to state that while the native names used in this work have 
been the subject of most careful investigation, with valuable assistance 
rendered by botanists in the countries from which they were derived, 
e rrors no doubt have crept into the work. Many of the fibers collected 
at the expositions, particularly those from Central and South American 
countries, have borne on their labels only the native common or, in 
some instances, the narrowly localized "country" names, and frequently 
it has been utterly impossible to trace such names. 

The roots of many of these native names are words common to the 
vocabulary of the country, and when used in combinations form a com- 
pound appellation, such as JEmbira preta, or the black embira, the root 
of embira signifying something resistant. This might be equivalent in 
English to such a name as the "black tough." In unfamiliar South 
American Spanish it at least affords something that may stand for a 
name, slender as the clue may be toward the identification of the plant 
from which derived. Many of the East Indian vernacular names are 
simply compounds of adjectives with such nouns in everyday use as 
"tree," "root," "vine," etc. Some of these are equivalent in value, 
therefore, to similar names employed in this country, as "blood-root," 
"gum-tree," and others. 



6 PREFACE. 

That many common names Lave been omitted from this work is not 
the fault of the author. It is to be regretted that the example of Hille- 
brand. in the Flora of Hawaii, where a few brief lines of small type are 
given to matters of general economic interest, such as the native names 
and the native utility of the species, is not universally followed. 
Such a practice would greatly enhance the value of botanical publica- 
tions both for the student and specialist. The admirable work of Dr- 
.1. \V. Fewkes, Dr. Edw. Palmer, and others in this direction is to be 
heartily commended. 

Acknowledgments are due for valuable aid rendered in the prep- 
aration of the work to Dr. D. Morris, assistant director of the Eoyal 
Kew Gardens; Dr. A. Ernst, director of the National Museum of 
Caracas; Prof. Jose Eamirez, botanical department, Instituto Medico 
National, Mexico: Mr. F. Y. Coville, Botanist of the United States 
Department of Agriculture, and Dr. Y. Havard, U. S. A.; also to 
Dr. W. E. Guilfoyle, director of the Botanic Gardens, Yictoria; Mr. K. 
Tawara, agricultural bureau, Tokyo, Japan; Mr. J. H. Hart, director 
of the botanic gardens of Trinidad; Mr. William Fawcett, director of 
the public gardens of Jamaica; Mr. Eomulo Escobar (Mexican court, 
W. C. E., 1893), Jaurez, Mexico; Mr. A. Dorca, of Lima, Peru; 
Mr. Herbert Putnam, librarian of the Boston Public Library; Mr. Gus- 
tav Xiederlein. of the Philadelphia Commercial Museum; Dr. George L. 
Goodale, Harvard University Botanical Museum ; Dr. L. M. Underwood, 
department of botany, Columbia University, Xew York ; Mr. J. E. Dodge, 
formerly statistician of the Department of Agriculture; Prof. William 
H. Seaman, United States Patent Office: Dr. Thomas Wilson, Dr. J. W. 
Fewkes, Dr. Otis T. Mason, and Mr. Walter Hough, United States 
National Museum; and Messrs. Lyster H. Dewey and E. S. Steele, 
assistants, botanical division of the Department of Agriculture, for 
their kind offices in the collection of material for the work and for 
assistance in other ways. And I recall the name of one whose friendly 
encouragement in all my endeavors will ever be held in grateful remem- 
brance, the late Dr. George Brown Goode. 

To the many friends who have aided in the work and whose names 
only appear in the list of contributors, on another page, I also desire to 
express my thanks for interesting notes of species, which have added 
greatly to the value and completeness of the publication in its entirety. 

For the photographs of palms from which tig. 2, PI. YI. and the hg- 
ures on PI. IX were reproduced, I am indebted to Mr. W. S. Gavey, of 
Brooklyn, X. Y. ; for the print of California hemp, to Mr. Sidney E. 
Meltzer, Bakersfield, Cal.; for the photograph of Agave decipiens to 
My. Allied Monroe, Concord, Mass., and to Prof William Trealease, 
of the Missouri Botanic Garden, for the original of tig. 2, PI. XII. 
The frontispiece and PI. XI are from negatives in possession of the 
Department. All other plate illustrations are from negatives made by 
the author. 

C. K. D. 



CONTENTS. 



Page. 

Definition of fibers 9 

The ancient uses of fibers 11 

Principal fibers used commercially in the United States, and their imports 15 

Economic investigation 17 

Chemical investigation 19 

Micro-chemical study of fibers 22 

The classification of fibers, based on uses and structure 22 

Structural classification 23 

Economic classification 27 

Descriptive catalogue of world's fibers 34 

Authorities and contributors 338 

Appendix 346 

A. Brief statements regarding fiber machinery 346 

B. Prof. W. H. Seaman, " On the identification of fibers » 352 

C. Dr. Thomas Wilson, article on " Description and History of Lace" 359 

7 



ILLUSTRATIONS. 



Fullin 

I. 

II. 

III. 

IV. 

V. 

vi. 

VII. 
V1I1. 

IX. 

X. 

XI. 

XII. 



gflax. Field of IAnwn uiitatUsimum. Frontispiece. 

1, The Century plant erieana. 2. Tampico hemp plant, Agave heteraeanfha. 

1, Sisal hemp, Agave rigxda sisalana. 2. False Bisal hemp, Agave deetpiens. 

1. An unidentified Florida Agave. 2. Pineapple plant, Annua* saliva. 

1, A bnnch of Cocoanuts, Cocos nuei/era. 2. Texas bear grass, DasyKrion. 

1. Louisiana jute, Oorehorua. 2, Sunn hemp plants. Crotalaria juncea. 3. California hemp, 

'<'ra. 
1, Forster'e palm lily. OordyUne austraUs. 2. The Chilean palm. Tracky carpus fortunei. 
1, Mauritius hemp plant, Furcroza gigantea. 2. New Zealand flax, Phormium i. uax. 
1, China grass foliage Boeftwieria rrioea. 2. Sponge cucumber. Luffa cegyptiea. 3. A plant of 

lora. 
1, Talipot palm, Oorypha \imbracu\ifera. 2, Screw pine. Pandauus odoratissimus. 
1. Cabbage palmetto. Sabal palmetto. 2. Saw palmetto, Serenoa serrulata. 

eca of the Mohave desert. I'(?cc« arborescens. 
1. lieur grass, FuceajUamentosa. 2. A plant of Yucca sp.. allied to baccata. 



- 

1. "Woody cells of the Buttonwood, after 

Cray 9 

2. Structural fiber. Transverse section 54. 

through a fibro-vascular bundle of 

aisal hemp, after Morris 1" 55. 

3. Bast fiber. Flax highly magnified 2 ,; 

4. Surface fiber. Cotton highly magnified 27 57. 

5. Sphagnummoss. Exampleofafalsefiher 28 58. 

6. Indian mallow , Abutilon avicennce 36 59. 

7. Plant of A scewiczii 39 60. 

8. Muruj.i Acroc* mia lasiospatha 40 

'.'. An old plant of Agave decipiens 45 02. 

10. Plant of Agave desertx 46 6;j. 

1 1 . Leaf ni A ( intha 47 

12. Blossoms of false sisal hemp plant 49 64. 

13. Pole plants of slips of Agave sisalana... 50 

14. Leaves of Agaverigi&a, the true sisal.. 51 65. 

15. Leaves o pirns, or false sisal- 51 66. 
IC. The Raspador or Mexican machine 52 

17. The Van Bureh machine used in the De- 67. 

partment's Florida experiments 53 68. 

18. Leaves of unidentified Florida Agave... 54 

19. Marram grass. Ammophila arenaria ... 56 

2u. Indian hemp plant. Apocynum carina- 71. 

hi nun, 63 72. 

21. Young Betel-nut palm, Areea catechu . . 65 73. 
__ - _ ■ palm of Malacca, Arenga sacchari- 

/■ ra - 66 74. 

23. Device for manufacture of artificial silk. 67 

24. Cane, Arundinaria gigantea 69 75. 

_" Swamp milk- weed, Asclepias incarnata. 72 76. 

26. The Murumuru palm, Astrocaryum 77. 

muni ' 78. 

27. The Tecuma palm, Astrocaryum tueuma 74 79. 
2v TheTucum palm, Astrocaryum vulgare 75 80. 

hia Piassaba palm, AttaUafunifera . 77 81. 

30. Bactris intt grifolia 78 

31. Leaves of JBauhinia vahlii 82 

32. A properly grown stalk of ramie 86 84. 

3:;. An improperly grown stalk of ramie.. . 88 85. 

: Bower racemes of ramie 89 

35. Kami.- roots for planting, before subdi- 86. 

vision 90 87. 

36. Leal of fi 99 88. 

37. The hemp plant, Cannabis sativa 107 89. 

entucky hemp brake 109 90. 

■■i 110 91. 

ool palm. Co 11:' 

41. C aim- Florida 121 93. 

bion of a cocoanut 122 94. 

/•".<f capsularis . . . \- r 

psularis 128 

"■, a 14 

'l'"S .. 149 99. 

150 loo. 

153 lol. 

50. The oil palm, / I .... ] 55 102. 

157 103. 

in broom r'"<t. 
leroura 

8 



Page. 
Cotton grass. Erir.phomm angustifo- 

lium 160 

The lesser cotton grass. Eriophorum 

latifolium 161 

The Assai, Euttrpc oleracea 164 

Leaves of Ficus religiosa 165 

The CTbimrana, Geonor a multiflora ... 172 

The cotton plant, Gossypium ..' 174 

Sea Island cotton '. 175 

Upland cotton 177 

Peach palm, Guilielma speciosa 188 

Leaf and blossom of Hibiscus elatus... 193 
Leaves and blossoms of Hibiscus mos- 

<■!'■ >'f"i- 196 

Hopi Indian basket grass, Mllaria 

jamesii 198 

The Doum palm. Hyphame thebaica ... 201 
The Bhabur grass. Ischosmum angusti- 

folium 203 

The Paxiuba. Iriartea cxorrhiza 204 

The Paxiuba-mira. Jriarteasetigera... I I 

Jubosa 8pectabilis, greenhouse plant. .. 205 

Juncus acutus 206 

The Japanese mat rush, Juncus 

Juncus conglonu rat"* 207 

The Para Piassaba palm, Leopoldinia 

piassaba 216 

The ancient flax plant, Liuum angvsti- 

folium 218 

Common rlax. I/inum usitatissimum . . . 

Method of forming stooks 225 

A leaf of a/"' 232 

The Bussu palm, ll'inicaria saccift ra.. 234 

Maranta arundinacea 236 

The It.i palm, Manriiln flexuosa 

The Carina palm. Mauritia aculeata . 
The Inaja palm, MaximiUana n 

The SaL r o palm, Metroxylon sagu 241 

Leaf of Monstera delicivsa 242 

The banana, or plantain, llusa sap- 

ientum 246 

The Haccaba. CEnocarpus bacaba 252 

The Tarawa. CEnocarpus bataua 2":; 

Barnyard grass, /'- 256 

The date palm, Phoenix dactylift ra 

Keed-grass, Phragmites communis 265 

Kentucky blue grass, Poaj ratensis ... 

The Raffia palm, Raphia rut a 

TheJupati palm. Raphia mnifera 

A plant of U'<r, nala 279 

The bulrush. Scirpus lacustris 291 

Cord grass. Spartin lei 301 

Prairie grass, £ •obolut cryptandrus. 303 

mnatifida, young plant 

Plant of Thri a 312 

Cattail flag, i tifolia 319 

The Caesar weed, Vrenalooata 

Plant of Urera tenon 

Flax scutckiug device 347 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



DEFINITION OF FIBERS. 



The tissue of plants when viewed under the microscope is seen to be 
made up of cells which are compacted together as they are formed dur- 
ing the growth of the plant, thus slowly building up roots, stems, and 
leaves. The walls of these cells inclose the life germ, or protoplasm, and 
the substance of which they are composed is known 
as cellulose, which chemically is very similar to starch. 

Regarding the size ot the cells of which common 
plants are made up, Dr. Gray states that their ordi- 
nary diameter in vegetable tissue is between one 
three-hundredth and one five-hundredth of an inch. 
The smaller of these sizes would allow as many as 
125,000,000 cells in the compass of a cubic inch. "All 
soft cellular tissue, as leaves, pith, and green bark, is 
called parenchyma, while fibrous and woody plants 
are composed of prosenchyma, that is, of peculiarly 
formed strengthening cells." We are also told that 
those cells that lengthen and at the same time thicken 
their walls form the proper woody fiber, or wood cells ; 
those of larger size and thinner walls, which are thick- 
ened only in certain parts so as to have peculiar mark- 
ings, and which often are seen to be made up of a row 
of cylindrical cells, with the partitions between ab- 
sorbed or broken away, are called ducts, or sometimes 
vessels. There are all gradations between wood cells 
and ducts, and between both these and common cells. 
But in most plants the three kinds are fairly distinct. 
Wood cells, or woody fibers, consist of tubes, com- 
monly between one and two thousandths of an inch, 
in diameter. A highly magnified group of these cells from Button- 
wood (after Gray) illustrates the manner in which wood cells are put 
together, their ends pointed and overlapping, thus strengthening the 
whole. (See fig. 1.) 

Wood cells also occur in the bark, though they are longer, finer, 
and tougher than those found in the wood. They form the princi- 
pal part of fibrous bark, or the bast layer, and are called Bast 

9 



Fig. 1.— Woody cells 
of Buttonwood. 



10 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 




cells. These give toughness and flexibility to the structure, and 
the extracted bundles of these cells form the filamentous product 
known economically as fiber, such as flax, hemp, and jute, derived 
from Dicotyledonous plants. "In Monocotyledons the fibrous cells 
arc found built up with vessels into a composite structure known as 
fibro vascular bundle." (Dr. Morris.) Such fiber occurs in the palms, 

and in the tie shy -leaved 
Agaves, like the century 
plant, the fibro-vascular 
bundles being found, not in 
the outside covering of the 
trunk, as in bark, but 
throughout the stem, or leaf, 
forming what may be termed 
(in an Agave leaf, for exam- 
ple) the supporting struc- 
ture, or that which gives 
rigidity and toughness to 
the leaf. These filaments or 
bundles of elongated, thick- 
ened cells, pressed firmly to- 
gether, when extracted or 

FlQ. 2._SiBaH,e m p (Agave rigidavvr.sisalana). Transverse Separated from the Soft Cell 

section through a fibro-vascnlar bundle embedded in maSS by which they are Slir- 

(PAE) the cellular parenchyma :S.S. starch layer, form- r0U nded, may be kllOWn as 

ing a ring round the sclerenchyma (SCL.), "with the fiber ^ 

cells closely packed together; M.L., middle lamella; B. STRUCTURAL Fiber, of 

S., bundle sheath ; X., sylem, or wood cells ; P. H., phloem, ^vliich the fiber of Sisal heinp 

or bast cells, X 300. . ,«««., 

is an example. (See fig. 2.) 
The simple, cells already described, when single or agglutinated 
and produced on the surfaces of the leaves, stems, and seeds of plants 
as hairs, form a fibrous material also valuable, to which the name Sur- 
face Fiber has been given. Such hairs are found enveloping the seeds 
of plants, and when they are produced in the bolls or capsules of spe- 
cies of Gossypium form the cotton of commerce. 

The fiber bundles, therefore, whether occurring as bast fiber or struc- 
tural fiber, or whether in the form of simple cells, as surface fiber, may 
be regarded as the spinning units, and a flax thread is but an aggrega- 
tion of bundles of bast cells purified and cleansed of all extraneous 
matter and simply twisted together. In the perfecting of processes, 
therefore, for separating, cleansing, and purifying the bundles of cell 
structure known as fibers a knowledge of their physical structure is 
absolutely essential. The rotting of a fiber is simply the breaking down 
of the cellular structure or complete separation of the individual cells, 
by which means the filament is resolved into its smallest parts, each 
pari being measured by the length to which the original cell attains 
during the period of its growth. 



THE ANCIENT USES OF FIBERS. 11 

THE ANCIENT USES OF FIBERS. 

It has already been noted as an interesting fact, though in no wise a 
remarkable one, that the most valuable commercial fibers of to-day 
were the prominent libers of ancient times, illustrating, in a word, the 
survival of the fittest. Flax, cotton, hemp, the liliaceous fibers, many of 
the palms, reeds, and grasses were known and valued in past ages on 
both hemispheres, being employed in connection with the common animal 
fibers, as wool, hair, and silk. When or how vegetable fibers first came 
to be used will never be known, but it is possible that they were first 
employed in aiding man to secure his food, as the natives of every 
country from the burning tropics to the frigid north have drawn 
largely upon the resources of the vegetable kingdom for their fish 
lines and nets. And it might further be conjectured that the rude 
knotting of the twisted filaments of fiber in the form of nets may have 
first suggested weaving and the substitution of vegetable clothing for 
the skins of animals. 

Flax has a greater antiquity than any of the fibers of which we have 
knowledge, for its cultivation goes back to the Stone Age in Europe. 
It is known to have been manufactured by the Swiss Lake Dwellers, a 
people contemporaneous with the long-extinct mammoth and other 
great mammals of the Quaternary Epoch, as specimens of the straw, 
fiber, fabrics, etc., prepared by them are preserved in the museums. It 
is supposed that the species cultivated at that remote period of the 
world's history, concerning which no written records remain, was Linum 
angustifolium, while at a later period, though still remote by four or five 
thousand years, the Egyptians cultivated the species known to-day as 
commercial flax {Linum usitatissimum). 

Before the books of Genesis and Exodus were written the Egyptians 
were skilled in spinning and weaving flax, for both the culture and the 
manufacture of this textile are pictorially carved upon the bas-reliefs 
and upon the walls of palaces, temples, and tombs. Egyptian fabrics 
of linen 4,500 years old and preserved in the museums and among 
the mummy cloths — fabrics from the most delicate tissues to linen-like 
sailcloth — have been found, and as many as 300 yards were sometimes 
used to enwrap one body. The linens were both white and dyed in col- 
ors — yellow, red, and purple — and they were handsomely embroidered. 
Spinning and weaving in Bible times were household industries, as we 
are assured by many references to women and flax. The Phoenicians 
did much to extend the culture of flax and the art of weaving linen, as 
their ships plowed the Atlantic more than three thousand years ago, 
even journeying to Britain, for they were a nation of traders, and there 
is every reason to believe that the Chaldeans excelled in spinning and 
weaving flax, while the Babylonians centuries before Christ were noted 
for their luxury and the high state of development of their textile art, 
flax, cotton, and wool being manufactured by them. 



12 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Wool was more grown in ancient Greece than flax, though the latter 
textile was produced in certain favorable districts and imported in 
large quantities for manufacture. There was a distinct linen industry, 
slaves being the operatives, as well as a household industry, for 
whether in the cottage or the palace, if possible, a special room was set 
apart for the occupation of weaving. In Homeric times not only were 
maids and ladies of high degree familiar with weaving, but with 
spinning and embroidery, and the distaff and spindle were often made 
of ivory or of gold. As in Greece, so in Rome there were regular 
linen establishments, and at the same time a domestic manufacture 
practiced by maids and matrons. Woolen was earlier used for cloth- 
ing by the Romans; then linen was employed, first for domestic uses, 
then as a dress material, the women adopting it before the men. 

Regarding the early use of linen in our own country, the time when 
American history began to be made is so recent that the word ancient 
does not apply. It has been stated that both flax and hemp were known 
to the ancient Mexicans or Aztecs, though I can refer to no records 
which relate to their use. 

While it has been shown that cotton was the ancient national textile 
of India, its cultivation and use were by no means confined to that 
country. Flax was the aristocratic textile of Egypt, and was gen- 
erally cultivated, but cotton was grown in the southern part of the 
country. Cotton and linen were sometimes woven together (flax warp 
and cotton woof), just as mixed "tow linen" is made in the mountains 
of Virginia and Xorth Carolina to-day. These Egyptian mixed fabrics, 
as well as pure cotton cloths, were largely used in upholstery as the 
coverings of chairs and couches, and probably also as drapery hang- 
ings. The cottons of India were famous, and Hindoo muslins were 
formerly produced that were so fine that when laid upon the grass and 
wet with dew they became invisible. The marvelous fabrics of Cos 
and Tarentum, by some said to have been made from cotton, were more 
likely silk, as they are described as floating like mist around the female 
form, disclosing the contour like a gauze veil. There is also the record 
of a muslin turban 30 English yards in length, contained in a cocoanut 
set with jewels, which was so exquisitely tine that it could scarcely 
be felt by the touch. It is impossible to say how far back into the 
ages cotton was first used in India, and though it is referred to 800 
B. C. we may be sure that the industry was old at that time. Cotton 
was a late introduction into Greece, though it was known 200 B.C., 
and even linen was an introduced textile, which came slowly into favor 
at a time when wool was almost universally used. 

Turning to the Western World and to the aboriginal civilization of 
the Ineas, we find the ancient Peruvians, with their simple handlooms, 
were enabled to produce fabrics that were marvels of design and 
exquisite in color and finish. Both cotton and wool were used in the 
different articles of dress of these people with other libers. The Aztecs. 



THE ANCIENT USES OF FIBERS. 13 

or ancient Mexicans, were familiar with cotton, as well as several other 
vegetable libers. With cotton and feathers we are told they produced 
a soft and beautiful fabric, which was used for mantles and blankets, 
and examples of their plain cotton fabrics are said to have been as fine 
as some of the imported linens of the present age. Regarding the early 
use of cotton on this continent, there are abundant records to show 
that it has been cultivated more or less generally for four or five centu- 
ries. How long it has been known to the early ancestors of some of the 
native Indian tribes of our own country will never be known, although 
from the fact that its use is required in religious ceremonials, as in the 
Hopi Indian tribe, for example, we may be sure that such use is no 
modern innovation. 

Among the ancient fibers of India, we have early allusions, in the 
Institutes of Menu, to several prominent fibers, particularly where 
the material of the sacrificial thread is prescribed. Cotton, sana, and 
woolen thread are mentioned. Sana has been supposed to refer to Sunn 
hemp, one of the commercial fibers of the present time (Crotalaria 
juncea). Dr. Watt says the possible sana fibers of the Sanscrit authors 
were Sunn, above mentioned, sanpat, or Hibiscus cannabinus, and com- 
mon hemp (Cannabis sativa). On the whole, the evidence is in favor of 
Sunn. Hemp grows wild throughout India, just as it is found in a wild 
state in many parts of our own country, but is regarded as the source 
of the drug known as bhang, or hasheesh, rather than as a fiber plant. 
We know that the use of hemp among the ancients was very limited. It 
has no mention in the Scriptures, and it is rarely referred to by the heath en 
writers of antiquity. It was used by the Scythians at least five hundred 
years before the Christian era, and some writers attribute to its cultiva- 
tion an antiquity more remote by a thousand years; and it was known 
to the Chinese at a period quite as remote. The Romans were familiar 
with the use of hemp for sails and cordage, though not until after the 
dawn of the Christian era. 

The China grass fiber, more popularly known as ramie, has been grown 
in the Orient from time immemorial, and modern writers have attempted 
to prove that it was contemporaneous with flax several thousand years 
ago in Egypt, if, indeed, it was not used for mummy cloth. Dr. Watt 
also advances a suggestion regarding ramie which would give it a great 
antiquity in India. He states that frequent reference is made in the 
Ramagana to a garment called the kshauma, and goes on to say that 
while kshauma is generally regarded as a name for linen, the word 
strongly resembles the Chinese name of the grass-cloth plant, or ramie, 
which is Chu-ma, schou-ma, or, as now most commonly written, tcliou-ma. 
The use of ramie fiber is undoubtedly old, but how ancient, history does 
not inform us. 

The date palm, as we know, afforded a valuable material for cordage 
in Egypt in very early times, as the modern excavations have revealed 
to us, and the fiber is valued quite as highly by the present inhabitants 



ft 

14 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

of the country: and the .ancient Chaldeans, or Babylonians, are said to 
have used this palm for everything- — food, clothing, wine, and the timber 
for their habitations. There is plenty of evidence that palm liber was 
employed throughout this entire region of the ancient world. 

Pliny tells ns that even the papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) was used for 
cordage in Egypt, as well as for matting, curtains, and sails, and 
Warden says that small boats were sometimes made from the plant. 
Ancient vessels of bulrushes are mentioned by Isaiah, and Lucan alludes 
to the manner of binding and sewing them with papyrns. The use of 
papyrus for paper is even more interesting. (See description of the 
mode of preparation under the title Cyperus papyrus in the catalogue.) 
In the realm of rank aquatic vegetation we may note a reed known as 
Arundo donax, which has been regarded as the " reed " of the Scrip- 
tures: U A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall 
he not quench." (The Hebrews employed flax for their lamp wicks.) 
Dr. Moore tells us that the heroes of Homer made their arrows of the 
Arundo (Iliad XI), and that the tent of Achilles was thatched with its 
leaves. A coarse grass (fijpartium junceum) has been used in Italy as a 
fiber plant from ancient times, its Italian name being Ginestra de Spagna. 
It is mentioned by Pliny. It was also largely used by the Greeks and 
Romans for many purposes. Another ancient Egyptian liber grass is 
known as Terr" (Poa abyssinica), said to have been the "straw" that 
was used by the ancient Egyptians in brickmaking. The ancients 
were also familiar with the use of flexible twigs for tying material, the 
name viburna being used for such substances. Twigs of Viburnum 
cassinoides are used for such purposes in the present age. 

In the Western Hemisphere the fiber of two species at least of Agave 
were employed by the ancient Mexicans or Aztecs, together with palm 
fiber and very coarse cotton, as clothing for the poorer classes. Cloth 
from the Agave was called nequen, and today the Yucatan name of the 
commercial sisal hemp, or Agave rigida, is henequen. This may have 
been one of the ancient Mexican species, but as the history of their civ- 
ilization was grotesquely recorded by the use of ideographic paintings, 
and not by means of written language upon books or scrolls, such fine 
distinctions as botanical species are not possible. Agave liber was also 
used to a limited extent by the ancient Peruvians, though wool and cot- 
ton were held in first esteem. In the burial mounds of the south- 
western United States the remains of fibers are frequently found, Agave 
and Yueea fiber being common. Remains of bast fibers are also found, 
but they have not been identified. 

The subject is interesting, but it is not possible, on these pages, to 
give more than an outline, chiefly for the purpose of showing that the 
mosl valued of the commercial libers of to-day were among the useful 
fiber species of the ancient world. 



FIBERS USED COMMERCIALLY IN UNITED STATES. 15 

PRINCIPAL FIBERS USED COMMERCIALLY IN THE UNITED STATES, 
AND THEIR IMPORTS. 

Of the two dozen species of commercial fibers used in the United 
States, 20 figure in the list of imported raw products. Taking into 
account, also, the imported manufactures from fibrous substances and 
some of the rougher manufactures from fibers or fibrous substances 
produced at home, the complete list of American commercial fibers 
may be swelled to 30 species, many of these being unimportant. 

There are six bast fibers, as follows: Flax, Linum usitatissimum-, 
China grass, fioehmeria nivea (including Rhea, B. tenacissima) ; hemp, 
Cannabis sativa ; jute, Corchorus capsularis and C. olitoritis; Sunn 
hemp, Crotalaria juncea, and Cuba bast, Hibiscus tiliaceus ; all except- 
ing the last being spinning fibers, the Cuba bast finding employment 
in millinery. There are two surface fibers: Cotton, Gossypium spp., 
and Raffia, Raphia ruffia. The list of structural fibers numbers 15, rep- 
resenting Agaves, palms, and grasses, as follows: Sisal hemp, Agave 
rigida (varieties); Manila hemp, Musa textilis; Mauritius, Furcrcva 
gigantea, and New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax, cordage fibers; Tain- 
pico, or Istle, Agave lieteracantha ; Bahia piassaba, Attalea funifera; 
Para piassaba, Leopoldinia piassaba; Mexican whisk, or Broom root, 
Epicampes macroura, and Cabbage palmetto, Sabal palmetto, brush 
fibers; Crin vegetal, Chamcvrops humilis ; Spanish moss, Tillandsia 
usneoides; Saw palmetto, Serenoa serrulata; Cocoanut fiber, Cocos 
nucifera, upholstery and matting fibers; Esparto grass, Stipa tenacis- 
sima, for paper manufacture; and Vegetable sponge, Luffa cegyptica, 
as substitute for bath sponges. The two species of palmetto and the 
Spanish moss for vegetable hair are wholly produced in this country. 

As to the sources of supply of these fibers, flax is imported chiefly 
from Belgium, Russia, Holland, Italy, the United Kingdom of Great 
Britain and Ireland, and from Canada. China grass or ramie comes 
from China (in very small quantities). Hemp is derived from Russia, 
France, Belgium, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, 
and British East Indies (the latter in trifling quantity); jute from 
India, and Cuba bast from the West Indies. The imports of cotton 
are chiefly produced in Egypt and Peru, though small quantities 
may be derived from other countries. Raffia, used as agricultural tie 
bands, comes from Africa. 

The sisal hemp supply is produced in Yucatan, small quantities being 
produced in Cuba and the Bahamas. Manila hemp is a product of the 
Philippine Islands, cebu hemp being a trade variety. Mauritius or aloe 
fiber comes from Africa, and the source of supply of New Zealand flax 
is indicated by its name. Tampico, or Istle, is a Mexican product, and 
the Bahia and Para piassabas, or " bass " fibers, are collected from Bra- 
zilian palms. There are other species of bass (see Bass in catalogue) 
derived from African palms, which formerly never came to the United 



16 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



States, and now. if at all, only in trifling quantities. Broom root is a 
Mexican product, the root of a tall, wiry grass. The two palmetto 
fibers are produced from uncultivated species of Florida palms, while 
the (rin yegetal is derivedfrom an allied palm, growing in Algeria. The 
vegetable hair from Spanish moss is prepared in South Carolina and 
other Gulf State's, while cocoanut fiber comes from the East Indies. 
Esparto grass is produced in Algeria, Spain, and Portugal, and vege- 
table sponge comes largely from Japan. 

Other commercial species that might be enumerated are imported in 
a partially prepared state or as manufactures. Such fibrous substances 
appear in the form of straw plait from Italy, Japan, and ( hina, chiefly, 
the eastern floor mattings, and basketry from various substances. In 
this account, however, only the raw fibers are noted. 

The fibers produced in this country in commercial quantity are cot- 
ton, hemp, flax, palmetto fiber, and vegetable hair from Spanish moss. 
Hemp and flax production should be largely extended: jute produc- 
tion and the growth of sisal hem}), pineapple, and bowstring hemp are 
possible. Cane fiber can be produced in large quantities, and there 
are doubtless other kinds that might form the basis of local fiber 
industries. 

The paper materials other than Esparto are not considered in this 
category. The native fibrous substances that might be employed in 
lieu of cellulose from our forest trees, for paper pulp, would make a long- 
list, at the head of which might be placed the waste fiber from a million 
acres of flax produced only for seed. A day is surely coming when the 
question of securing new pulp materials will present itself, and it is to 
be hoped that from the long list of native species of fibrous plants 
enumerated in this work something will be found that will supply at 
low cost a better paper material for common use than wood pulp, 
which has nothing to recommend it but availability of raw material 
and cheapness. 

The following table of quantities and values of vegetable fibers 
imported into the United States for the year ended June 30, 1S9(>, has 
been made up from figures supplied by the Bureau of Statistics of the 
Treasury Department. 

Import* of vegetable fibers into the United States for year ending June SO, 1S9G. 



Fiber. 



Quantity. Value. Va i 



T»ns. 



Broom root 

China grass, or ramie 

Cocoanut fiber 1 

( tattoo • 

Crin vegetal 

Cuba bast 1 



Dollars. 
39 384 



27, 075 
1,348 



0.578.212 
213,818 



Dolhin. 



Esparto grass ] 

Flax Btraw | 

Flax, not hackled 

Flax, dressed lin<- ' 

Flax, low of 

' Included in all other. 



32 

1,322 
1.711 



926 



28 
240 
483 

152 



ECONOMIC INVESTIGATION. 



17 



Imports of vegetable fibers into the United States, etc.— Continued. 



Fiber. 



Hemp, not hackled 

Hemp, dressed line • 

Hemp, tow of 

Istle, or Tampico liber. . 

Jute 

Jute butts 

Kittul 2 

Kapok 2 

Manila hemp 

Mauritius hemp v 

New Zealand flax 

Palmyra 2 

Piassaba and Bass fiber ! 
Rattan and Bamboo 2 — 

Sisal grass 

Vegetable sponge 2 

All other, and waste 



Quantity. 



Tons. 

8,306 

93 

244 

12, 205 

23, 393 

65, 599 



Value. 



Dollars. 

1, 030, 547 

22, 847 

27, 205 

717, 585 

957, 054 

1, 044, 152 



Value per 
ton. 



Dollars. 

124 

243 

111 

58 

40 

15 



49, 433 
*"i03 



3, 594, 901 



5, 548 



20, 616 

"I', 405 



3, 372, 346 



183, 768 



163 
*4i 



Total. 



221, 495 



19, 604, 961 



1 Flax, dressed line, is dutiable at $33.60 per ton ; dressed line of hemp at $22.40 per ton ; all others, 
free. 

2 Included in all other. 

The $19,000,000 to $20,000,000 represented by the imports of raw 
fibers, in the above table, must not be taken as the value of the fiber 
industry to this country. It should be remembered that considerably 
larger quantities of many of these fibers are manufactured in other 
countries for export to the United States, and that the total value of 
our imports of "raw and manufactured*' is equal to three or four times 
the value represented in the table. Our raw and dressed flax imports 
amount to perhaps $1,750,000, while the imports of flax manufactures 
have reached $12,000,000. Even Mexican manufactures from sisal 
grass, such as hammocks, etc., are sold in the United States, and the 
imports of cordage and yarns from various fibers is considerable. 
Where $20,000,000 worth of fibers are now manufactured in this coun- 
try it might be possible to manufacture $40,000,000 worth, and thus 
double the home fiber industries; and it might easily be possible to 
produce home grown fibers to the extent of half of the supply needed 
in the manufactures that these industries represent. 

ECONOMIC INVESTIGATION. 

While 30 of 40 species of plants supply the world's demand for com- 
mercial fibers, hundreds of fibrous plants could readily be enumerated, 
the simple fiber substance in many of which to outward appearance is 
just as good as the fiber of some of the commercial species widely cul- 
tivated, and for which they would be the substitutes. This country 
imports millions of dollars' worth of jute annually, yet some of the plants 
recognized as native weeds in the United States contain stronger and 
better fiber. That many of them are capable of producing a good 
quality of fiber has been known for years, yet they are not utilized. 
But they are interesting and are the subject of constant inquiry, as the 
masses of their filaments, disintegrated and semibleached on the parent 
12247— No. 9 2 



18 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

stalk by the winter storms, attract attention; and often the observer, 
regarding his discovery as new and considering- it the source of a valu- 
able, undeveloped industry, writes to learn the name and history of the 
species, how far the plant is susceptible of cultivation, and what price 
the fiber will bring in the market. In considering such a plant the first 
question is not. can we grow the species, but what will be its uses in man- 
ufacture, or. in other words, what commercial fiber will it either replace 
or become a substitute for. In most instances the inquiry need not be 
carried further, for the present commercial fibers represent in a sense 
those that have stood the test of experience, and until these are crowded 
out by new conditions, or through what might be termed evolution in 
the economic arts, they will have no chance. The only opportunity 
that may be afforded these secondary forms is in the creation of special 
uses to which they may be peculiarly adapted, for which the standard 
forms known to tire market price current are not so well fitted. 

Should a fiber be considered "promising,*' it would need to be sub- 
jected to chemical and microscopic study to determine the length of the 
ultimate fiber cell, the proportion of cellulose, and any other elements 
which would give it its rating among textiles. By suclr technical study 
we are enabled to obtain direct knowledge of the species and in a 
measure to avoid long and costly economic experimentation. 

Experiments for the development or extension of vegetable fiber 
industries under governmental auspices or direction have been insti- 
tuted at different times in many countries, and such experiments date 
back nearly one hundred years. In some instances these have been 
confined to testing the strengths of native fibrous substances for com- 
parison with similar tests of commercial fibers, as the almost exhaust- 
ive experiments of Eoxburgh in India early in tire present century. 
Another direction for Government experimentation has been the testing 
of machines to supersede costly hand labor in the preparation of the raw 
material for market, or in the development of chemical processes for 
the further preparation of the fibers for manufacture, or in microscopic 
and chemical investigation. The broadest field of experiment, however, 
has been the cultivation of the plants, either to introduce new indus- 
tries as sources of national wealth or to economically develop those 
which require to be fostered. The introduction of ramie culture is an 
example of the first instance, the fostering of the almost extinct flax 
industry of our grandfathers' days an illustration of the second. 

The United States Government has conducted experiments or insti- 
tuted inquiries in the fiber interest at various times in the last fifty 
years, but it is only since 1890 that an office of practical experiment 
and inquiry lias been established by the Department of Agriculture, 
that has been continued through a term of years. This is known as 
the Office <>f Fiber Investigations. 

The work <>!' this branch of the Department of Agriculture lias been 
mainly directed toward the development or introduction of those libers 



CHEMICAL INVESTIGATION. 19 

which we do not produce commercially, but which are capable of 
cultivation in the United States, and which will add to our national 
resources. This work has been prosecuted by the importation and 
distribution of the seeds of fiber plants, by encouraging and directing 
field experiments, by testing fiber machines, and by affording informa- 
tion, both through personal correspondence and through a series of 
publications. 1 

CHEMICAL INVESTIGATION. 

In presenting this phase of the study of fibers I can but refer to the 
valuable work that has been accomplished in England in the field of 
chemical research by Messrs. Cross, Be van, and King, and I will 
refer particularly to the Report on Indian Fibers 2 and the work on Cel- 
lulose, 3 the latter being a recent publication. The methods adopted 
in the chemical study of fibers and the processes essential to proper 
determinations are as follows : 

Moisture. — All the celluloses hold in their ordinary state a certain 
proportion of moisture, which, within the limits of variation (one-half 
of 1 per cent) due to atmospheric changes, is definite and characteristic 
of each fiber. It is noteworthy that the proportion of hygroscopic 
moisture is an index of susceptibility of attack by hydrolytic agents; 
it is certainly true that the textile fibers of the highest class are dis- 
tinguished by their relatively low moisture. It is scarcely necessary to 
say that the moisture is determined by drying a weighed quantity of 
the fiber. It is necessary to raise the temperature to 110° to drive off 
the whole of the water; at 100° a fiber will often retain 1 per cent of its 
weight. Owing to the variations in this constituent, it is expedient to 
express all the results of analysis as percentages of the dry fiber. 

Mineral constituents. — The ash left on incinerating the fiber is deter- 
mined in the usual way. The proportion is low in the ligno-celluloses, 
higher in the pecto-celluloses, especially when the proportion of non- 
cellulose is high. Cellular tissue further contains a higher proportion 

1 The special reports issued previous to this work are : 

1. A Eeport on Flax, Hemp, Eamie, and Jute, Illust., pp. 104, 1890. 

2. Recent Progress in the Ramie Industry in America, pp. 16, 189T. 

3. A Report on Sisal Hemp Culture in the United States, pp. 59, Illust., 1891. 

4. A Report on Flax Culture for Fiber in the United States (and Europe), pp. 93, 
Illust., 1892. 

5. A Report on the Leaf Fibers of the United States, pp. 73, Illust., 1893. 

6. A Report on the Uncultivated Bast Fibers in the United States, pp. 54, Illust., 
1894. 

7. A Report on the Cultivation of Ramie in the United States, pp. 63, Illust., 1895. 

8. A Report on the Culture of Hemp and Jute in the United States, pp. 43, Illust., 
1896. 

Five Annual Reports have been issued, which will be found in the Yearbook, or 
Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture, 1890 to 1895; also Farmers' Bulle- 
tin No. 27, Flax for Seed and Fiber, pp. 16, 1895. 

2 See Cross, Bevan, and King, list of authorities. 

3 See Cross and Bevan. 



20 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

of mineral constituents than the fibers, and an admixture of the former 
therefore raises the percentage. 

Hydrolysis. — There are two classes of reagents which intensify that 
resolving action of water upon organic bodies known as hydrolysis; 
they are the acids and alkalis. The destructive action of acids has not 
been included in the scheme of analysis. The action of boiling dilute 
alkalis, however, effecting a simpler resolution and involving very 
Important points in the practical applications of the fibers, gives results 
which form a necessary part of their diagnosis. 

Example of treatment: The fiber is boiled (a) for five minutes in a 
solution of caustic soda (1 percent Xa 2 0), washed, dried, and weighed — 
the loss of weight presents the proportion of the fiber which yields to 
the solvent action of the alkali; (b) in a second portion the boiling is 
continued for one hour — the loss of weight is an indication of the 
''degrading" action of the alkali. In many of the pecto-celluloses the 
hydrolytic action of the prolonged boiling is such that the noncellulose 
is almost completely dissolved away. The power of resistance of a 
fiber to the action of bleaching processes, as well as the resisting of 
••wear" of the manufactured fabric in subsequent washings (launder- 
ing), where strong alkaline soaps or even chemicals are used, is shown. 

Cellulose. — Celluloses, although similar in external characteristics, 
are of widely different chemical constitution, and vary considerably in 
their r>ower of resisting the further action of oxidizing and hydrolytic 
action. A determination of the value and composition of cellulose is 
made as follows: A fresh specimen having been boiled in the dilute 
alkali 1 per cent Xa 2 0), is well washed and exposed for one hour, at 
the ordinary temperature, to an atmosphere of chlorine gas. It is then 
removed, washed, and treated with a solution of sodium sulphite, 
which is slowly raised to the boiling point. After two or three min- 
utes' boiling, it is washed, on a filter when necessary, though in most 
cases it may be so placed in a funnel as to act as its own filter. Lastly, 
it is treated with dilute acetic acid, washed, dried, and weighed. The 
percentage yield on the raw fiber is the most important criterion of 
its composition and value. 

Mercerizing. — This refers to the action of concentrated solutions of 
the alkalis upon vegetable fibers, particularly the compound libers or 
those which are made up of a number of fibrils aggregated into a bun- 
dle, the larger portion of fiber consisting of such bundles. The action 
of the alkali often causes a very profound change in structure, not 
only dissecting the bundles, but altering the contour of the fibrils. 
The treatment takes its name from Mercer, whose original studies were 
for the determination of the structural modification which cotton under- 
goes when treated with strong alkalis. 

Nitration. — When a fiber is exposed for one hour to a nitrating acid, 
such as a mixture of equal volumes of concentrated nitric and sul- 
phuric acids, one of the most important results which follow is an 



CHEMICAL INVESTIGATION. 



21 



increase in weight. An external characteristic which should also be 
noted is color. A great deal of information regarding the constitution 
of a liber is ascertained by this process. 

Carbon percentages from combustion. — This process consists in burn- 
ing the substance with chromic anhydride in presence of sulphuric 
acid and leading over the gaseous products (CO and C0 2 ) into an appa- 
ratus in which their volume can be exactly measured. The two oxides 
of carbon having the same volume, the quantity of carbon in unit 
volume is independent of the composition of the gas, which therefore 
only requires to be measured. The carbon in the typical (cotton) cellu- 
lose is 44.4 per cent; the compound celluloses, on the other hand, range 
themselves for the most part into two groups — (1) of lower carbon per- 
centage (40-43), (2) of higher (45-50), in the former the pecto-celluloses 
are included, the ligno-celluloses in the latter. This is considered a 
prominent chemical constant of the fiber substance. 

Acid purification. — The object of this treatment is to clean the fiber 
and remove accidental impurities, while occasioning the minimum loss 
of weight and therefore alteration in composition. For this purpose 
acetic acid (20 per cent) is chosen, the fiber being heated with the acid 
to the boiling point, then removed and washed first with alcohol and 
lastly with water, dried, and weighed. The loss in weight sustained is 
thus determined. It is in the fiber thus purified that the carbon per- 
centages are determined. 

In a report on the miscellaneous fibers in the Colonial and London 
Exhibition of 1886, by C. ¥. Cross, the scheme of analysis is thus 
briefly stated in tabular form : 

r Moisture Hygroscopic water, or water of condition. 

Ash Total residue left on ignition. 

Hydrolysis (a) Loss of weight on boiling raw fiber five 

minutes in 1 per cent solution of caustic 
soda. 

Hydrolysis (&) Loss of weight on continuing to boil one 

hour. 

Cellulose White or bleached residue from following 

treatment: (1) Boil in 1 per cent NaOH 
five minutes ; (2) exposure to chlorine gas 
one hour; (3) boil in basic sodium sul- 
phite. 

Mercerizing Loss on treating one hour with 33 per cent 

solution caustic potash, cold. 

Nitration Weight of nitrated product obtained by 

treatment with mixture equal volumes 
of nitric and sulphuric acids one hour, in 
the cold. 

Acid purification .. .Raw fiber boiled one minute with acetic 
acid (20 per cent), washed with water and 
alcohol, and dried. 

Carbon percentage.. The carbon in the fiber from above, deter- 
mined bv combustion. 



Separate portion 
taken for each 
determimation. 
Results calcu- 
lated in percent- 
age of dry sub- 
stance. 



22 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

THE MICRO-CHEMICAL STUDY OF FIBERS. 

The microscope is a valuable adjunct to the study of fibers, not only 
for the purpose of determining' the dimensions of the ultimate cell, the 
thickness of the cell walls, the arrangement of the different kinds of 
cells in the plant tissue, and the relative abundance of the fiber cells, 
but all these taken together, with the employment also of certain chem- 
ical reagents, giving a ready means of determining the identity of the 
species of fiber where doubt exists as to the kind of fiber that has been 
employed in the particular manufacture under investigation. The 
methods to be pursued in this kind of fiber analysis should be fully 
understood by the textile student, as well as the industrialist and all 
others who handle fibers and fabrics commercially. 

Among the text-books that may be consulted no better can be sug- 
gested than the valuable work of M. Yetillart, of Paris, who has given 
many years of study to the subject. As the publication is in French, it 
is not readily available to English students. An abstract of the meth- 
ods pursued by M. Yetillart appears, however, in Appendix B in the 
valuable paper "On the identification of fibers," which has been spe- 
cially prepared for this work by Prof. William H. Seaman. 

The identification of fibers involves both chemical and microscopic 
stud}', in many instances microscopic determination only being i>ossible 
with the employment of the resources of the chemist, and the use of 
both systems, therefore, is essential. As the work of Professor Seaman 
covers the ground most thoroughly, a further consideration of the sub- 
ject here is unnecessary. 



Among the many wants of man there are two which in all ages and 
in every clime have been regarded as necessities — food and the cover- 
ing of the body. The first is an absolute essential to life; the second, 
an adjunct either to comfort or appearance. In supplying the second 
necessity man has used the bark, stems, leaves, and roots of trees, 
shrubs, vines, grasses, and the fibrous growth often provided by 
nature to protect their fruits during the period of development; he has 
employed the skins of animals, their shorn hair or wool, and, lastly, 
the cocoons of the silkworm. 

At lirst vegetable substances could scarcely have been employed, for 
primitive man was satisfied with the skin of an animal girded about his 
loins; but in time, with the dawn of creative intelligence, the filaments 
of bark and wool and hair were rudely twisted into threads and 
coarsely woven. These libers twisted again into larger threads, as fish 
lines, when knotted together formed fish nets, with which he was 
enabled to secure food, or a number of these threads wrought together 
made bim cordage. His wants increasing as his inventive faculties 
were more and more developed and lie became more intelligent, he felt 



STRUCTURAL CLASSIFICATION. > 23 

the need of various utensils in the domestic economy, and pottery, 
trays, and baskets were fashioned from clay, from twigs of bushes or 
trees, from rushes and the leaves of palms and similar plants. And 
when caves or overhanging cliffs and rock shelters ceased to be his 
protection from the elemeuts he learned to build huts and to thatch 
them with palms and grasses. Haviug now entered upon a domiciliary 
existence and new wants being created, mats and screens were woven 
from reeds and sedges or from strips of palm, and primitive man had 
entered upon a kind of barbaric civilization. 

Aboriginal man is primitive in all ages, and the age of his particular 
race and his environment fixes the scale of his civilization. If, in the 
early Stone Age, he threw across his shoulders or girded about his 
loins the skin of an animal slaughtered for food, it was because such 
rude dress satisfied his simple wants in this direction. And there are 
native tribes in Africa and Australia at the present time with no 
higher desires as to their raiment and who still dress in skins, and 
African tribes who still adhere to Adam's costume — not fig leaves, but 
a girdle of evergreens and creepers or a leafy branch, as in the Obbo 
tribe. 

But the economic uses of plants were bound to be learned by savage 
man in time, and skill was early acquired in preparing them for use. 
We find, therefore, among the uncivilized races all over the world that 
many species of fiber plants have become most useful for utensils, 
cords, and clothing which civilized man with all his intelligence and 
inventive genius can not afford to employ commercially. It is true 
that the recognized commercial fibers represent those best adapted for 
use, and that many of them, like flax, hemp, and cotton, must be 
classed with the fibers of antiquity. They have established their 
places because they have been proved to be the best for the purposes 
for which they are employed, and the others can only be considered as 
their substitutes or as simple " native" fibers. We have therefore two 
natural groups of fibers — the commercial species with their substi- 
tutes, which are soon enumerated, and the vast group of the so-called 
native fibers, many of which might fitly be termed emergency fibers, 
because they are extracted and used at the moment when needed. 
These so-called native fibers are all interesting, however, and through 
our knowledge of some of them, or when a species finds its way to the 
outside world, a new commercial fiber now and then is brought to 
light. They are legion when taken collectively, and therefore in 
enumerating the many species found in the countries of the globe it is 
very easy to secure a list that can only be stated in four figures. 

STRUCTURAL CLASSIFICATION. 

We have seen that different forms of cellular structure compose the 
fibers derived from dicotyledonous and monocotyledonous plants, as 



24 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

well as the seed hairs, or other hairs, from certain species of both divi- 
sions of the vegetable kingdom. In general terms, therefore, fiber is 
composed of bundles of bast or fibro- vascular tissue in the form of long, 
flexible filaments, such as flax, hemp, or manila, or of hairs, such as 
cotton, capable of being twisted or spun into threads or yarns, to be 
subsequently manufactured into cordage or fabrics. 

In the economic employment of fibrous vegetable material it is often 
the case that the fiber bundles are not separated or subdivided into 
such delicate filaments as compose the cleaned fibers of flax and hemp, 
but are used in a conglomerated mass, or even in a more primary form, 
as the whole stems of reeds or grasses, as in matting manufacture, 
where both fibrous substance and the cellular tissue and woody waste 
is used without further preparation than drying. Or, a still broader 
differentiation is found in the employment of palm leaves torn into 
strips or the woody stems of such plants as the willow and sumac, 
which are coarsely woven or plaited into baskets and similar objects. 

These fibrous substances, however, are not always utilized by sub- 
jecting them to the operations of twisting, spinning, plaiting, or weav- 
ing, but are employed in a mass, as upholstery material for the stuffing 
of cushions, mattresses, and the like. Beginning with true fibrous ma- 
terial, such as tow or the waste from scutching flax, hemp, etc., and 
the seed hairs of the many plants known as cotton and silk cotton, 
and coming down through the list we discover the use of mosses, 
leaves, and even finely subdivided wood shavings, or " excelsior," as 
forms of stuffing or packing material. The last named are not fiber, 
though on account of their economic employment they are regarded as 
the substitutes of fibrous substances. 

Therefore, in considering the many species of plants which are em- 
ployed for so many different uses in the industrial economy, one species 
ofttimes being utilized as a cheaper substitute for another, in order to 
show their relations, both botanically and economically, a division into 
classes is necessary, that the place and value of each form of fiber may 
be readily recognized. Several classifications will be found in the 
works relating to this subject, but after reviewing the 1,000 or more 
species of vegetable fibers aud fibrous substances comprised in this 
catalogue a new scheme of classification, considered chiefly from the 
economic standpoint, has been devised, and is presented as both 
simple and natural. 

In this arrangement I have separated the fibrous substances derived 
from plants into five groups, according to their use in the plant econ- 
ony, as well as in relation to part of the plant employed. The first 
and third groups follow the natural division of the two great vegetable 
kingdoms into exogenous and endogenous plants; the second group 
confined wholly to the first division, but only fibrous in a sense; the 
fourth group pertaining to both, but more largely confined to the first 
division, while the filth group is comprised of low orders of plants 



STRUCTURAL" CLASSIFICATION. 25 

that are not fibrous at all, but which are chiefly used as cheap substi- 
tutes of better packing materials. The classification is as follows: 

A. FlRRO- VASCULAR STRUCTURE. 

1. Bast fibers. 

Derived from the inner fibrous bark of dicotyledonous plants or exogens, 
or outside growers. They are composed of bast cells, the ends of 
which overlap each other so as to form in mass a filament. They 
occupy the phloem portion of the fibro-vascular bundles, and their 
utility in nature is to give strength and flexibility to the tissue. 

2. Woody fibers. 

(a) The stems and twigs of exogenous plants, simply stripped of their 

bark and used entire, or separated into withes, for weaving or 

plaiting into basketry. 
(6) The entire or subdivided roots of exogenous plants, to be employed 

for the same purpose, or as tie material, or as very coarse thread 

for stitching or binding. 

(c) The wood of exogenous trees easily divisible into layers or splints 

for the same purposes, or more finely subdivided into threadlike 
shavings for packing material. 

(d) The wood of certain soft species of exogenous trees, after grinding 

and converting by chemical means into wood pulp, which is sim- 
ple cellulose, and similar woods more carefully prepared for the 
manufacture of artificial silk. 

3. Structural fibers. 

(a) Derived from the structural system of the stalks, leaf stems, and 
leaves, or other parts of monocotyledonous plants, or inside grow- 
ers, occurring as isolated fibro-vascular bundles, and surrounded 
by a pithy, spongy, corky, or often a soft, succulent, cellular 
mass covered with a thick epidermis. They give to the plant 
rigidity and toughness, thus enabling it to resist injury from the 
elements, and they also serve as water vessels. 

(&) The whole stems, or roots, or leaves, or split and shredded leaves of 
monocotyledonous plants. 

(c) The fibrous portion of the leaves or fruits of certain exogenous 
plants when deprived of their epidermis and soft cellular tissue. 

B. Simple cellular structure. 

4. Surface fibers. 

(a) The down or hairs surrounding the seeds, or seed envelopes, of exogen- 
ous plants, which are usually contained in a husk, pod, or capsule. 

(&) Hairlike growths, or tomentum, found on the surfaces of the stems 
and leaves or on the leaf buds of both divisions of plants. 

(c) Fibrous material produced in the form of epidermal strips from the 
leaves of certain endogenous species, as the palms. 

5. Pseudo-fibers, or false fibrous material. 

(a) Certain of the mosses, as the species of Sphagnum, for packing 

material. 

(b) Certain leaves and marine weeds, the dried substance of which forms 

a more delicate packing material. 

(c) Seaweeds wrought into lines or cordage. 

(d) Fungous growths, or the mycelium of certain fungi that may be 

applied to economic uses, for which some of the true fibers are 
employed. 

The bast fibers, derived from the bark of exogenous plants, such as 
trees, shrubs, the climbing vines, herbaceous vegetation generally, are 



26 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



clearly defined, and the fibers of all species of such plants, when simply 
stripped, are similar in form as to outward appearance, differing chiefly 
in color, fineness, and strength. An example of a fine bast fiber is the 
ribbons or filaments of hemp, and of a coarser form, the bast from the 
linden or the cedar. In fig-. 3 are shown highly magnified filaments of 
flax. A variation in form should be noted in the lace barks and the 
paper barks, where the bundles of fibers which interlace may be peeled 
off in the form of thin, flat strips. The woody fibers are only fibrous 
in a broad sense, as their cellulose is broken down and all extraneous 
matter removed by chemical means, as for the manufacture of paper 
pulp or of artificial silk. The greater number are merely wood in 
the form of flexible slender twigs or osiers that are useful for making 
baskets; or the larger branches maybe split or subdivided into strips, 
withes, or flat ribbons of wood, for making coarser baskets. The softer 





- 



Fig. 3. — Flax fibers: or, «', transverse sections of fibers; 6, fibers viewed in lengtb; c, points or ends 
of fibers. Example of a bast fiber. 

woods still further subdivided give the product known as excelsior. 
which can only claim a place in a list of liber plants because it is a 
substitute for upholstery or packing material. 

Structural fibers are found in many forms, some of which may be 
enumerated as follows: The stiff, white, or yellowish fibers forming the 
structure of all fleshy-leaved or aloe-like plants, as the century plant, 
the Yuccas, Agave, and pineapple, or the fleshy trunk of the banana: 
as an example, sisal hemp of commerce; the coarser bundles of stiff, 
fibrous substance which gives strength to the trunks, leaf, stems (mid- 
ribs and veins), and even the leaves of palms, a good example being 
Piassaba, derived from The dilated mar-ins of the petioles of a palm, 
where they clasp the stem; these are made into thin strips which 
afterwards split into smooth, cylindrical libers. Another example is 
the stiff fibers extracted by maceration from the "boots" or bases of 
the leaf stem- of the cabbage palmetto, or the shredded leaves of the 
African fan palm, known as Grin v6g6tal. Other familiar examples may 
be noted in strips of rattan, the fibrous material derived from bamboo, 



economic; classification. 



27 



from the cornstalk, the flower stems of broom corn, and .from reeds, 
sedges, and the true grasses. Still another form is the fibrous mass 
surrounding the fruit of the coacoanut, known as coir, and as a curious 
example may be noted the fiber from pine needles; a notable excep- 
tion of a structural fiber derived from an exogenous plant, the fibrous 
mass filling the sponge cucumber being another. 

The surface fibers are still more varied in form. They may be the 
elongated hairs surrounding the individual pods which contain the 
single seeds of the thistle, familiarly known as thistledown, or they 
may be the hairy growths covering the clusters of seeds contained 
within large pods, as the cotton boll, the pod of the milkweed, or the 
seed envelop of species of Bombax found in tropical countries. See 
fig. 4, a highly magnified example of the fiber of cotton. In this 




$E&® 



Fig. 4. — Cotton fibers: a, half ripe fibers of cotton, transverse section; 
6, mature fibers ; c, half ripe fibers with thin cell wall ; d and e, mature 
fiber with definite cell wall. X 325. (After Bowman.) Surface fiber. 

group also is placed the leaf scales or tomentum found on the under 
surfaces of leaves, etc., or on the leaf buds of both endogenous and 
exogenous plants, which can only be used for upholstery, or as tinder. 
Epidermal strips of palm leaves, raffia being an example, are also 
included with the surface fibers. 

The pseudo-fibers are not fibers, but substances used as their substi- 
tutes. However, they are so clearly defined in the scheme of classifi- 
cation it will not be necessary to describe them farther or to give 
examples. Fig. 5 represents sphagnum moss, used as a packing 
material. 

ECONOMIC CLASSIFICATION. 

The highest use for which a fiber may be employed is in the manu- 
facture of cloth or woven fabric. As these fabrics vary greatly in tex- 
ture from the fineness of delicate linen cambric to the coarseness of jute 
bagging, it would seem that a large number of fibers might be consid- 
ered spinnable forms and capable of manufacture. In point of fact, 
however, a comparatively small number are actually spun and woven 



28 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 






as commercial articles, these having- proved their superior adapta- 
bility for the special purposes for which they are employed, and the 
form and appearance of the different manufactures from them having 
become in a measure so fixed that change could not be made without 
serious result. And, besides, it should be recognized that such change 
might necessitate complete change in an entire system of textile machin- 
ery employed in a special industry. Examples of the fabric fibers of 

the first rank are China grass 
(bast fiber), pineapple (struc- 
tural fiber), and cotton (surface 
fiber) ; of the second rank, jute 
(bast fiber) and coir or cocoa- 
nut (structural fiber). The 
fabric fibers, therefore, are 
easily disposed of, and we come 
to the next of the higher uses in 
which fibers are employed, the 
manufacture of threads, twines, 
cords, and ropes, or, reduced 
to a term, cordage. The 
fibers employed for this group 
of manufactures include all the 
spinning and weaving fibers, 
which for the most part are 
employed in the manufacture 
of thread and fine twines, and 
a larger number of coarser 
fibers, which also have their 
substitutes, for the manufac- 
ture of which ordinary sys- 
tems of cordage machinery are 
generally adapted. In this 
group, also, must be included a 
still larger number of " native" 
libers, or those which are ex- 
tracted, prepared, and rudely 
spun or wrought into ropes by 
hand by the natives of the 
con n tries where they are pro- 
duced, the finei- kinds being used tor sewing thread, fish lines, nets, and 
hammocks. Even the group of '-native libers" used for cordage is 
capable of subdivision into prepared fibrous material, for spinning and 
twisting, and unprepared bark, or the whole stems or leaves of plants 
or bandies of unprepared bast, simply twisted together to form a very 
rough rope <>r 
America and in 




Fig. •'■ — Sphagnum moss. 



able. Such cordage has been largely used in South 
India in the construction of rope bridges. Examples 



ECONOMIC CLASSIFICATION. 29 

of the cordage fibers are: Commercial — for threads, flax (bast fiber); 
for twines, common hemp (bast fiber), and for ropes, manila and sisal 
hemps (structural fiber) ; native — for fine twines, fish lines, etc., Indian 
hemp (or Apocynum) (bast fiber); for ropes, the Yuccas (structural 
fiber); for binding and rough sewing material, spruce roots (woody 
fiber) ; and for fish lines, kelp or seaweed, used in Alaska and other 
high northern latitudes (pseudo-fiber). 

The third use is the preparation of certain tree basts that are 
extracted from the bark in layers or sheets, and which, by pounding, 
are made into rough substitutes for cloth. Such cloth has long 
been used by the natives of the Pacific islands, and is known as lappa 
or Kapa. Other forms, such as the Damajar/ua, of Ecuador, are used 
in South America as cloth, while similar fibrous bast is employed in 
India in its primary form, for sacks, etc. In this group are also included 
the more delicate tree basts that are extracted in thin lacelike layers 
and known as lace barks, as well as other forms of which the cigarette 
bast, or Cuban bast, is an example. Certain close-textured fibrous 
growths from palm trees, when they may be secured in thin sheets, 
likewise come into this category. 

A fourth use is in the manufacture of brushes and brooms, for 
which a different class of fibers are employed than either the fabric or 
cordage fibers. The first essentials of a brush fiber are toughness and 
stiffness, qualities found in many of the fibers from Endogens, and the 
brush fibers, therefore, especially the commercial species, are largely 
derived from palms. Grasses and grass roots are also used, while the 
best substitute for animal bristles is a species of Agave, the fibro-vas- 
cular bundles of which are large, smooth, rigid, and cylindrical. The 
most important commercial brush fibers derived from palms are noted 
as Piassaba, or Bass, of Which there are several forms from as many 
different species. An American example of palm brush fiber is found 
in the finished product from crushed and softened palmetto leaf stems. 
Coarser brush material consists of twigs or small stems of woody plants, 
or even of splints of wood, while the aboriginies and " natives" use 
anything that has the requisite stiffness, from a bunch of grass to the 
small branches of bushes tied together. Examples of commercial 
brush fibers are Tampico, from Agave heteracantha, Piassaba, or Bass, 
from Attalea funifera, a palm, and Broom root, from the roots of Epi- 
cawpes macroura, a Mexican grass. 

The fifth group of uses comprises plaited or coarsely woven 
manufactures of articles employed in the domestic economy, some 
of which are of commercial importance, while the greater number are 
"native" productions. The materials used are the whole stems of 
reeds, rushes, or grasses, palm leaves, coarse tree basts, etc., wrought 
or plaited together in the simplest manner possible. Some of these 
articles may be enumerated as follows: Mats and mattings, screens, 
wallets, bags, saddle cloths, sandals, hats, toys, chair seats, and bas- 
ketry in endless form. Examples of the commercial manufactures are 






30 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

the Japanese mattings from the mat rush (Juncus effusus), the Russian 
mattings from the bast of the linden tree, the finely subdivided leaves 
of Carludovica palmata for Panama hats, and the split stems or straw 
of wheat, rye, barley, and rice, for braids or straw plait, all of which 
are structural fibers, save the Russian bast. Examples of "native" 
or aboriginal manufactures are the sleeping mats bom various sedges 
or grasses, the East Indian tatties and screens from the fragrant roots 
of the Kims-Kims; the split leaves of Yucca, used for making sandals, 
and tlie rain coats of China and Japan. 

The use of fibers or fibrous substances in the coarse weaving or 
plaiting of basketry is an industry that belongs to all civilized coun- 
tries and that is practiced by the native tribes of the world, and a cata- 
logue of the varied forms would be too long for enumeration on these 
pages. By reason of the similarity of construction and materials used, 
we must also include in this class a considerable number of articles that 
resemble baskets, known as willow ware, such as hampers and infants' 
carriages; and even chairs, that are produced from willow withes; and 
chair bottoms are also included. While the commercial basket mate- 
rial is confined chiefly to the osiers, or willows, to certain forms of wood 
splints, and to a few species of rushes and the grain straws, the native 
and Indian basket fibers are legion, for they include a range of vegetable 
substances from the stipes of delicate ferns, and the smaller grasses, 
through the sedges, reeds, the bamboos, the palms, and liliaceous plants, 
to the stems and twigs of shrubs, and even the splints from the wood 
of trees, or their subdivided woody roots. A few examples of this class 
of manufactures are the sweet-scented grass baskets made by the Xew 
England Indians from the holy grass; the delicate fern baskets of the 
Sandwich Islanders, the Yucca coil baskets, and others by the Hopi 
Indians of Arizona, the sumac and willow trays, and the spruce-root 
baskets of Northern tribes, palm-leaf baskets, and those from bamboos, 
sedges, and reeds. Among commercial forms are the Italian straw-plait 
baskets, the Buscola baskets from certain sedges, the osier manufac- 
tures from Italy, and the ash and white-oak splint baskets made in our 
own country, together with chair bottoms plaited in rattan or rushes. 

A sixth form of utility is the employment of fibers or fibrous sub- 
stances in mass as filling MATERIAL, for stuffing pillows, cushions, 
mattresses, furniture, etc., or as packing substances. The surface fibers 
for the most part compose this class, as the bast fibers arc too valu- 
able, while the structural fibers ate too stiff for such purposes, excep- 
tions being the shredded leaves of palms, the commercially prepared 
Spanish moss Tillandsia usneoides), known as vegetable hair, and the 
familiar corn " shucks." The pseudo-fibers embraced in group 5 are 
also largely used as packing material, though a notable except ion should 
be made <»{' certain leaves, as well as species of fungi, and Alaskan sea- 
weed, the last being twisted into fish lines, the fungi used for making 
caps, table mats, etc., or employed as tinder. Mycelium has also been 
employed as a substitute for fabric. 



ECONOMIC CLASSIFICATION. 31 

A seventh and most important use is in the manufacture of pafeb. 
With this brief enumeration of some 01 the ways in which fibers are 
employed by man the following economic classification, relating to the 

utility of liber and fibrous substances, is presented: 

A. Spinning fibers. 

1. Fal 

Fibers of the first rank, for spinning and weaving into fine and coarse 
texrnres for wearing apparel, domestic use, or house furnishing 

and d .. and for awnings, sails, etc. The commercial forms 

are cotton, flax, ramie, hemp, p . and New Zealand flax. 

Fibers of the second rank, used for burlap or gunny, cotton bagging, 
woven mattings and door coverings, and oth< r coarse nses 
mercial examples are jute and coil 

2. y i 

Lace libers, which are cotton, riax. ramie, agave, etc. 
Coarse netting fibers, for all forms of nets, and for hammocks. 
I ommercial forms: Cotton, dax. ramie. New Zealand flax, agave, 

The native netting fibers are legion, and include the fibers 

derived from tree basts, palms, etc. 

3. ' ".: 

(a) Fine spun threads and yarns other than for weaving ; cords, lines, and 
twines all of the commercial fabric fibers, sunn, Mauritius 
bow-string hemps. New Zealand flax, and the so-called commercial 
hard fibers, coir, manila and sisal hemps, and other forms : the 
nsh lines made from seaweed. 
Ropes and cables. (Chiefly common hemp, sisal and manila hemps, 
when produced commercially. In native manufactures made from 
palm fiber, yuccas, and many other plants. 

B. Tie material rougktwisteA 

Very coarse material, such as stripped palm leaves, the peeled bark of 
trees, and other coarse growths used without preparation, and 
employed in the construction of huts, fences, as emergency cord- 
age, and sometimes as cables for •• rope bridges.*' with other native 
uses too n.imerous to mention. 

C. ^Natural texttkes. 

1. Tret basts, with tough inie bers. 

(a) Substitutes for cloth, prepared by simple stripping and pounding. 

Examples: The Tappa or Kapa cloth of the Pacific islands: the 

Dam : South American tribes/ 

Lace barks. The best example is the bast from Lagetta lintearia, 

of Jamaica, which has been used for cravats, frills, rufries. etc.. 

and likewise as thongs and whips. 

2. T eribbt layer basts, extracted in thin, smooth-surfaced, dexible strips 

or sheets. Examples: The Cuba bast that is employed commer- 
cially as a millinery material, plain and dyed in colors; cigarette 
basts for wrappers. 
8. Interlacing >- 

Pertaining to leaves and leaf stems of palms, such as the hbrous 
sheaths found at the bases of the leafstalks of the cocoanut. 
yb) Pertaining to dower buds. The natural caps or hats derived from 
several species oi palms. 

Xote. — The separated rilaments of these cloth substitutes, -heet 
or ribbon basts, etc.. are also employed, by twisting, as cordage. 



32 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

D. Brush fibers. 

1. Brushes manufactured from prepared fiber. 

(a) For soft brushes. (Substitutes for animal bristles, such as Tampico.) 

(b) For hard brushes. (Examples: Palmetto fiber, palmyra, kittul, etc.) 

2. Iirooms and whisks. 

(a) Grasslike fibers. (Examples: Broom root, broom corn, etc.) 

(b) Bass fibers; also for coarse brushes aud sweepers. (Monkey bass, 

Piassaba, etc.) 

3. Very coarse brushes and brooms. 

Materials used in street sweeping, etc. Usually twigs aud splints'. 

E. Plaiting and rough weaving fibers. 

1. Used in articles for attire, as hats, sandals, etc. 

(a) Straw plaits. From wheat, rye, barley, and rice straw. (Exam- 

ples: The commercial Tuscan and Japanese braids.) 

(b) Plaits from split leaves, chiefly palms and allied forms of vegetation. 

(Example : The celebrated Panama hats, from the finely divided 
leaves of Carludovica palmata. 

(c) Plaits from various materials used entire and without preparation. 

(Example : Basts and thin woods used in millinery trimmings, etc. ; 
Chinese sandals from rushes.) 

2. Mats and mattings ; also thatch materials. 

(a) The commercial mattings, from eastern countries. 

(b) Sleeping mats and other forms of mats or mattings, screens, etc., 

made by ''natives" for their own use. 

(c) Thatch or other covering or protection from the elements, made of 

tree basts, palm leaves, grasses, etc. 

3. llasketry- 

(a) Manufactures from woody fiber. (Commercial examples: Osier and 

splint baskets; the same forms produced by Indians, and includ- 
ing also manufactures from sumac and other twigs, roots of 
spruce, etc*) 

(b) From the whole or split leaves or stems of endogens, or from any 

rigid fibrous material, including also the culms of grasses. (Chiefly 
Indian or native manufactures, from yucca leaves, palm leaves, 
reeds, grasses, etc., used individually or in combinations.) 

4. Miscellaneous manufactures. 

Willow ware in various forms, chair bottoms from splints or rushes, etc. 

F. Various forms of filling. 

1. Stuffing or upholstery. 

(a) Wadding, batting, etc., usually commercially prepared lint cotton. 

(b) Feather substitutes. For filling cushions, pillows, etc., cotton; 

seed hairs or silk cottons, such as kapok, Asclepias down, etc. ; 
tomentum, from the surfaces of stems, leaves, and leaf buds of 
plants; other similar soft fibrous material. 

(c) Mattrass aud furniture filling. The tow or waste of prepared fiber'; 

unprepared bast; straw and grasses; substitutes for curled hair, 
as Spanish moss, crin ve*ge"tal, maize husks, etc. 

2. Caulking. 

(a) Filling the seams in vessels, etc., oakum from various libers. 

(b) Filling the seams in casks, barrels, etc., leaves of reeds and giant 

grasses. 

3. Stiffening. 

In the manufacture of "staff" for building purposes, and as substitutes 
for cow's hair in plaster. New Zealand flax; palmetto liber. 



ECONOMIC CLASSIFICATION. 33 

4. Parting. 

(a) In bulkheads, etc. (as in armored vessels). Examples: Coir, cellu- 
lose of corn pith, etc. In machinery, as the valves of steam 
engines, various soft fibers. 
(6) For protection, usually in transportation; various fibers and soft 
grasses; marine weeds, excelsior; also stuffing and upholstery 
materials generally. 
G. Paper material. 

1. Textile papers. 

(a) The spinning fibers in the raw state. The secondary qualities, or 
the waste, from spinning mills, which may be used for paper 
stock, including tow, jute butts, manila rope, etc. 

(6) Cotton or flax fiber that has already been spun and woven, but which 
as rags find use as a paper material. 

2. Hast papers. 

This includes Japanese papers from soft basts, such as the paper mul- 
berry (Broussoneiia), or species of the genus EdgewortMa. 

3. Palm papers. 

From the fibrous material of palms and similar monocotyledonous 
plants. Example : Palmetto and Yucca papers. 

4. Baniboo and grass papers. 

This includes all paper material from gramineous plants, including the 
bamboos, esparto, maize, and the true grasses. 

5. Wood pulp, or cellulose. 

The wood of spruce, poplar, and similar "paper pulp" woods, prepared 
by various chemical and mechanical processes. 

It should be noted that an absolute economic classification of uses 
with relation to species is impossible, as the same fiber may be used in 
several ways. Manila hemp is manufactured into rope, and old manila 
rope into manila paper. Cotton is used for fabrics, as a netting fiber, 
for cordage, in upholstery, and in paper. In fact, there are very few 
fibers which may not be made into paper, the amount of cellulose they 
contain and the cost of the process by which they are converted being 
the main considerations. The same plaut may also yield two kinds of 
fibers, as lint cotton covering the seed, and cotton bast, stripped from 
the stalk. 

12247— No. 9 3 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE OF WORLDS FIBERS. 



[Abbreviations. — Countries. — Afr., Africa; Alg., Algeria; Andam. Is., Andaman 
Islands; Arab.. Arabia; Arg., Argentina; Aus., Austria; Austr., Australia; Bomb., 
Bombay; Braz., Brazil; Br. Guian., British Guiana; Burm., Burma; Can., Canada; 
Cent. Am., Central America; Ceyl., Ceylon; Fr., France; Fr. Guian., French Guiana ; 
Ger., Germany; Gt. Brit., Great Britain; Guat., Guatemala ; Hind., Hindostan ; HolL, 
Holland; Hond.. Honduras; Ind., India; It., Italy; Jam., Jamaica : Jap.. Japan; 
Maurit., Mauritius; Mex., Mexico; N. S. W., New South Wales ; N. W. Pro v. Ind., 
North West Provinces of India ; New Zea., New Zealand; Panj., Panjab; Phil. Is., 
Philippine Islands; S. Am., South America; Sp., Spain; Span., Spanish speaking 
countries; Tasm., Tasmania; Trin., Trinidad; Turk., Turkey; Venez., Venezuela; 
Vict., Victoria; W. Ind., West Indies; Yuc, Yucatan. 

Museums and exhibitions. — Bot. Mus. Harv. Univ., Botanical Museum of Harvard 
University, Cambridge; C. S. I. Exp., 18S5, Cotton States and International Exhibi- 
tion, 1895, Atlanta; Field Col. Mus., Field Columbian Museum of Chicago; Herb. 
Col. Univ.,N. Y., Herbarium of Columbia University, New York City; Phil. Com. 
Mus., Philadelphia Commercial Museum; Phil. Int. Exh., 1876, Philadelphia Inter- 
national Exhibition, 1876; Kew Mus., Museum Royal Kew Gardens, England; Mus. 
U. S. Dept. Ag., Museum of the United States Department of Agriculture ; Paris Exp. 
Univ., 1889, Paris Exposition Universelle, 1889; U. S. Nat. Herb., United States 
National Herbarium; U. S. Nat. Mus., United States National Museum; W. C. E., 
1893, World's Columbian Exposition, 1893, Chicago. 

An asterisk before the word * Specimen denotes that the author has examined the 
fiber. All descriptive matter is invariably given under the botanical name of the 
species, this name always being found after a common or native name as a reference.] 

Aainunnas (Pers. and Arab.). See Ananas sativa. 
Abaca (Phil. Is.). See Musa textilis. 
Abelmoschus (see Hibiscus). 
Abroma augusta. Devil's Cotton. 

Exogen. Sterculiacece. Perennial. A small tree. 
Native names. — A brome (Fr.) ; Oelta-kamal and Ulatkamball (Ind.). 
Wild, and cultivated throughout the hotter parts of India, and grows in Mauritius. 
The plant yields three crops a year, and is said to be more easily cultivated than jute 
or sunn hemp. 

Bast Fiber. — Derived from the bark of the twigs; is strong, white, and clean, 
and much valued for local uses. ''Might be employed as a substitute for silk.' 
( Watt.) "A cord of its fiber bore 74 pounds, when sunn hemp broke with 6* pounds." 
(Boyle.) Chiefly employed for cordage, etc., by the natives in the districts where 
grown. 

* Specimen. — Herb. Col. Univ., N. Y. 

Ahroma mollis is fouud in the Isles of Sunda, Molucca, and the Spice Islands; the 
fiber also derived from the bark. 
34 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 35 

Abrus precatorius. Indian Licorice. Eosary plant. 

Exogen. Leguminosce. A twining shrub. 
Native of India, but found in the West Indies, Mauritius, and other tropical 
regions. The bark or bast is twisted. into rough cordage. 

Abutilon avicennae. Indian Mallow. 

Exogen. Malvacece. Herbaceous annual. 
Native names. — Cafiajrina (Arg. Rep.); Ch'ing Ma (China). 
See A. indicum for Indian names of Abutilon, spp. 

Widely distributed, north and south, east of the Rocky Mountains, and is found 
in the State of Washington. Although it has been considered an indigenous species,. 
Gray states that it was introduced from India, and when found growing wild has 
escaped from cultivation. Also distributed to northern Asia and westward to 
southern Europe. Grows in northwestern India (Sind and Kashmir). Said to be 
found in South America; cultivated experimentally in United States and India, com- 
mercially in China, from whence the fiber is exported as China jute. In the United 
States the plant grows so freely upon any rich soil, even thrusting itself in and 
growing spontaneously, that it has come to be considered a farm pest in many por- 
tions of the country. It grows luxuriantly throughout the West and North, the line 
of States from Ohio to Missouri producing vast quantities of the bast, which rots 
and goes to waste upon the stalks every year. (See fig. 6.) 

The revised name of this species is Abutilon abutilon. 

Bast Fiber. — A jute substitute, which may be manufactured into twine, rope, and 
common cordage. Fiber white and glossy, and shows good strength. Has been 
manufactured into paper in Illinois, the ligneous body of the plant giving more 
cellulose for paper stock than other species. Early experimenters stated that fiber 
extracted from plants that had not reached their maturity would be fine enough to 
work into yarns for carpet fillings and even fabrics. It takes dyes readily, and an 
advantage is claimed in this respect over India jute, which is antagonistic to cheap 
bleaching and dyeing. The fiber was once classified in value between Italian and 
mauila hemp, but it will not grade so high, coming nearer to jute, as is proved by its 
being sold as a variety of jute. The seed of the plant is so hardy that it is not 
affected by the severest winter, which enables the plant to perpetuate its species in 
any locality where introduced. It is claimed that an acre of ground will produce 5 
tons of Abutilon stalks, giving about 20 per cent of fiber. Of doubtful economic value, 
considering that we have other and better fibers which are already in cultivation. 

Cultivation. — Experiments with cultivation in the United States date back to 
about 1870, when the plant attracted considerable attention in the West, particu- 
larly in Illinois, through the endeavors of Mr. J. H. McConnell to establish the 
industry, and the fiber was given a flattering promise of utility. The plants .are 
stated to grow 9 to 14 feet high; the seed should be sown 12 to 16 quarts per acre, in 
corn-planting time, in the same manner as hemp ; it is cut with a reaper, shocked 
like hemp till cured, then water retted like hemp ; a volunteer crop will spring up 
the last of July, which can be dew retted. The cost of cutting is given at 75 cents 
per acre; water retting, $10 ; dew retting, $5; hand cleaning, $12; and half as much 
by machinery, making the total cost, not including rent of land, $19 to $31. Messrs. 
McConnell offered $100 per ton for all water retted that could, be furnished and $75 
for the dew-retted. The crop is not exhausting to the soil if the refuse is restored 
to it. 

Seven or eight years later the plant was the subject of special investigation and 
experiment in the State of 'New Jersey, through the endeavors of Mr. Samuel C. 
Brown, secretary of the bureau of labor, statistics, and industries of that State. A 
circular was issued in 1878 for the twofold purpose of awakening an interest in the 
subject of fiber cultivation and to ascertain what portions of the State were best 
adapted to its cultivation. While the promoters of these experiments were satis- 
fied that no difficulty existed in the cultivation of the fiber, the enterprise failed 



36 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



completely, notwithstanding the fact that a bounty was offered for the production 
of the fiber. It was demonstrated at the time of these experiments that the plant 
■would thrive in any rich soil suitable for corn and potat 

Preparation. — The fiber can be disintegrated and separated from the stalks by 
steeping in water, like rlax, hemp, or jute (as practiced in India . but such practice 
should be avoided in this country if possible. At the time of the New Jersey experi- 
ments it was thought that the question of economically cleaning the liber had been 




-The Indian ma] n avicenna. 



settled by the invention of a "combined chemical and mechanical process." There 
is no doubt that a combined mechanical and chemical pr<>< ■ 3fi si be employed in 
extracting all jutedike fibers, bnt the process must give straight liber, uninjured as 
to strength, and with the natural color preserved. This mean- a machine that will 
strip the bark and an after-pi at will remove the gams 

without weakening the liber. - ribbons in water for the requisite num- 

ber of days is the simplest form of accomplishing the result, but this is primitive. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 37 

Nevertheless, machine stripping and water retting of jute has been practiced in this 
country in Texas in a small way. An economical machine for extracting this class 
of bast libers is yet a desideratum. See Machinery, Appendix A. 

* Specimens. — Field Col. Mus.; U. S. Nat. Mus.; Mus. I', s. Dept. Ag. 

Abutilon bedfordianum. 

Native of Brazil. Tall rank shrub. Introduced into Victoria, Australia, where its 
growth is rapid. 

Bast Fiber. — Almost white, the filaments fine and regular. "The bark yields a 
fiber of superior quality, suitable for whipcord, tine matting, paper, and perhaps 
textile fabrics." (Guilfoyle.) A beautiful example of the fiber was showu in the 
Victorian collection, Phil. Int. Exh., 1876. A. aJbuyn is another Victorian species. 
See Ann. Kept. U. S. Dept, Ag., 1879. 

* Specimen. — Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Abutilon incanum. 

Native Mexican name. — Tronadora. 

The species is found in Mexico, acquiring greatest perfection on the rich bottom 
lands. It reaches a height of about 8 feet. 

Bast Fiber. — Extracted from the bark. The Zotlahnacar Indians, who live -10 
miles south of Manzanillo. are said by Dr. Palmer to utilize the fiber in making ham- 
mocks, ropes, and carrying nets, which are so durable that they last from seven to 
ten years in constant use. 

Native preparation. — When the plant is mature, the lateral branches are cut 
away and the stems are buried in the mud at the edge of Lake Alcuzagua (Lake of 
the Devil). Three or four days afterwards the plants are removed and washed, and 
are then ready for the stripping of the inner bark or fiber. This is done in the fol- 
lowing manner: The workman, standing upright, with the stem, which rests firmly 
upon the ground, in his left hand, presses the right thumb firmly upon the stick, and 
taking the fiber between the fingers, he pulls steadily, bending gradually to the work 
until he falls upon his knees. When the fiber is removed, the stem rebounds and flies 
over the shoulder of the operator, stripped of half its bark. This seems a very slow 
process, but jute was formerly cleaned as slowly, and it was only after many and 
repeated trials that machinery was perfected to perform this tedious work. Prob- 
ably if this, like jute, is allowed to die before cutting, it would become brittle and 
fit only for paper manufacture ; therefore, in more northern latitudes, it may be best 
to cut the plants before frost. Experiments will be necessary to ascertain the proper 
time for cutting, the length of time it should be immersed, if water will accomplish 
the same result as mud, rendering the bark soft and pliable. {Dr. Edw. Palmer, 
Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb.. Vol. I.) 

Abutilon indicum. Country Mallow. 

Native names. — KangM (Hind.): Potdri (Beng.j; Deishar (Arab.); DaraMte- 
shanah (Pers.); Tram (Malay); Anoda-gcilia (Ceyl.). 

A small annual shrub, common to India and Burma, but cultivated in Mauritius; 
found in south Africa. 

Bast Fiber. — Very similar to that of A. arieenncv, which see. " The stems contain 
good fiber suitable for cordage." ( Watt. ) A fine sample of the fiber was exhibited in 
the Indian Court, Forestry, W. C. E., 1893. The leaves, seed, and bark of this spe- 
cies and .1. asiaticum are used as a medicine in India. The last-named species also 
yields a good cordage fiber. 

There are 10 or 12 Indian species of Abutilon, among which may be also named A. 
graveolens, A. muticum, aud A. polyandrum, all of which are fiber plants. The latter 
is said to yield a long silky fiber resembling hemp. 



38 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Abutilon molle. Lantern Flower. 

Native of Brazil. Introduced into Australia, where it is considered worthy of cul- 
tivation. 

Bast Fiber. — " Very strong and suitable formatting, paper, etc.'' (Guilfoyle.) The 
sample of fiber shown in the Victorian collection, Phil. Int. Exh., 1876, was poorly 
prepared and lacked in strength. The sample was accompanied by liber from two 
other Brazilian species introduced into Australia, A. venosum and A. oxycarpum. Of 
the first Dr. Guilfoyle says: " Fiber of fine quality, suitable for fishing lines, textile 
fabrics, etc." The fiber of the latter was well prepared, white, soft, and lustrous, 
and was produced in Queensland. J. giganteum is another South American species, 
noted for withstanding cold. Fiber has been extracted from the bark. 

^Specimen of A. molle, Mas. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Abutilon periplocifolium. Maholtine. 

The species thrives in tropical America. 

Live plants, stalks, and fiber of this species were received from Trinidad through 
T. J. St. Hill in 1890. The stalks reach a height of 12 feet. The plant grows wild, 
but can be easily cultivated, and large crops assured. Seed was obtained and sent 
to several points in Florida for experiment, but the Department was unable to secure 
from the experimenters any reports of the results. 

Bast Fiber. — When the bark is green, it cau be peeled its entire length with no 
other preparation than steeping the stalks in pools of water from five to eight days. 
The color of the fiber is a creamy yellow, and some of the samples received measured 
11 feet 10 inches in length. Samples of the fibers submitted to London brokers were 
favorably reported upon and valued at £17 to £20 per ton. 

A true bast fiber of good quality. The stems strip well and readily and the bark 
"rets" out, leaving a fine fiber of a type to compete with jute. A very large crop of 
this fiber can be grown per acre, but as no regular cultivation exists only an approxi- 
mate estimate can be given. It is estimated that as much as 10,000 pounds of stripped 
bark can be obtained from an acre, and that from 25 to 40 per cent of cleaned fiber 
could be obtained from this. It promises best of all the newer fibers. (J. H. Hart.) 

Mr. St. Hill states that it thrives magnificently in barren and rocky soil; the land 
is prepared simply by burning, when the seeds are thrown broadcast over the plain, 
about the beginning of the month of May. and the stalks are ready to be converted 
into fiber one year after. No attention is required to be paid to the plants while 
growing, and wild weeds, etc., do not affect them in the least. Plants growing very 
near to each other will produce very tall stems, say from 10 to 12 feet hi^h and 
straight, but those that happen to grow far apart will shoot out branches and make 
bad growth, and the ribbons will be very irregular. 

* Specimens.— Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. ; U. S. Nat. Mus. ; Field Col. Mus. 

Abutilon striatum. Streaked Lantern Flower. 

Native of Brazil. Widely distributed as a flowering plant in greenhouses and 
gardens. Common in United States. Introduced into Victoria. 

Fiber. — It has only been produced experimentally in Victoria. "Its bark, which 
peels readily, furnishes a fiber of fine texture." Is worthy of experiment in the United 
States. 

* Specimen. — Mus. L T . S. Dept. Ag. 

Acacia leucophlcea. Panicled Acacia. 

Exogen. Leguminosce. A tree. 

NATIVE VfAMEB.—Safed-kikar (Hind.); Safed-oabul (Burm.\ and many others. 
Wild in many districts of India. Ceylon, and Burma. Plains of Panjab to South 
India. 

Bast Fiher. — "A coarse, tough liber is prepared from the bark, much valued 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



39 



>A 



tgS&tMlJjy 



(locally) for fishing - nets and ropes." (Dr. George Watt.) A. modesta is mentioned by 
Liotard as a possible paper plant in India; known as Phulahi. 

Acanthorhiza warscewiczii. 

A magnificent palm found in the forests of Cbiriqui. "Employed by the natives 
for making brushes of very fine quality, carpets, tapestries, etc/' (Manual Hoepli). 
Cultivated in greenhouses. (See fig. 7.) 

Achiial, or Aguash (Peru). See Mauritia Jfexuosa. 
Acrocomia lasiospatha. Great Macaw Palm. 

Endogen. Palmcc. 

Native name, Mucuja (Braz). Cuban name of the fiber, Pita de corojo. 
This species is common in the neighborhood of Para, where its nearly globular 
crown of drooping feathery leaves is very ornamental. The fruit, though oily and 
bitter, is very much esteemed and is 
eagerly sought after. It grows on 
dry soil about Para and the Lower 
Amazon, but it is quite unknown in 
the interior. The stem is about forty 
feet high, strong, smooth, and ringed. 
The leaves are rather large, terminal, 
and drooping. The leaflets are long 
and narrow, and spread irregularly 
from the midrib, every part of which 
is very spiny. The sheathing bases 
of the leafstalks are persistent on 
the upper part of the stem, and in 
young trees clothe it down to the 
ground. The spadices grow from 
among the leaves erect or somewhat 
drooping, and are simply branched. 
The spathes are Avoody, persistent, 
and clothed with spines. The fruit 
is the size of an apricot, globular, 
and of a greenish-olive color, and 
has a thin layer of firm edible pulp 
of an orange color covering the seed. 
( Wallace.) 

Structural Fiber. — " The strands 
of fiber present a ribbon-like appear- 
ance some what resembling Raffia, but 
firmer and not so papery. Extremely 
strong and capable of being divided 
into very tough filaments." (Morris.) 
Specimens of the fiber were re- 
ceived by the Department from Cuba 
so long ago as the early seventies. 
The ribbons are very white. By rolling between the hands it breaks up into innu- 
merable filaments, some of great fineness. It might prove a valuable fiber for cord- 
age, though a drawback (in the specimen examined) is the presence of little spines, 
doubtless those mentioned by Squier, which are as sharp as needles, and half an 
inch in length. They are not readily seen, but by grasping a handful of the fiber 
in the hand they make their presence known with painful surety. Two varieties 
of Corojo are given in the catalogue of M. Bernardin, the " Corojo de la tena" 
from the West Indies, stated to be Cocos crispa, and the Corojo, Corozo, or Cocoyal 





Fig. 7. — Plant of Acanthorhiza ivarsceiviczii. 



40 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



from Central America, without name. Squier states that the Corosal, Coyal, or 
Corojo palm abounds in dry and rocky locations in Central America and Cuba and 
some other portions of tropical America. It is described as a tree 20 feet high, pro- 
ducing a large cluster of nuts, with a hard shell, which yields an oil similar to that 
of the cocoanut. The trunk and leaves of the coyal are armed with long, narrow, 
hard spines. "The leaves are liued with a long and excellent fiber called Pita de 
corojo, from which ropes and cords are manufactured. The fibers are equal to those 
of Henequeu, from which they can hardly be distinguished." Among Brazilian palm 
fibers the handbook of Para (W. C. E., 1893) mentions the mucuja as this species. 

A fine sample of Corojo fiber from Cuba 
was contributed, by Messrs. Ide & Chris- 
tie, to Kew in 1890. At the time it was im- 
possible to trace its origin. A careful ex- 
amination showed that the fiber was formed 
of the epidermal layer of a palm leaf and 
probably derived from a species of Bactris 
or Acrocomia armed with prickles. In 
March, 1895, a further inquiry elicited the 
fact that the fiber was obtained from the 
unopened leaflets of the " Gru-gru palm of 
the West Indies (A. lasiospafha) ." The Kew 
Mns. contains a cap and a strainer made from 
the spathe, the latter nsed a3 a strainer for 
cassava. Dr. Morris says: "It is a remark- 
able fiber, and in jioint of tensile strength 
it surpasses even the oil palm liber, Elais 
guineensis." For further details refer to 
Ann. Rept. U. S. Dep. Ag., 1879 ? p. 551; 
Cantor Lectures on Commercial Fibers, by 
Dr. D. Morris, p. 31. 

* Specimens. — Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Acrocomia sclerocarpa. Macaw 
Tree. Gru gru. 

Endogen. A palm. 

Native names. — Macaiiba (Braz.); groo 
groo (W.Ind.), of Fawcett. 
The tree grows from 20 to 30 feet high; 
found in Jamaica, Granada, Trinidad, Gui- 
ana, and Brazil. (See fig. 8.) 

Fiber. — Derived from the leaves, valued 
for local uses. " Distinguished from other fibers of this class by remarkable fineness 
and softness." (Cross.) A. totai appeared in the collection of Argentina. "The 
leaves of this species give a good textile fiber." (Xiederlein.) A. totai is known as 
the Mbocaj/a. See notes on the State of Para, Exposition Handbook. Brazil, W. C. 
E., 1893. 

* Specimens.— W. C. I... exhibits of Brazil and Argentina. 




FlG. 8.— The Mucuja. or Gru gru Palm. Aero 
comia lasiospatha. 



Adam's needle. See Yu<<<i. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 41 

Adansonia digitata. Baobab Tree. Monkey Bread Tree of 
Africa. 

Exogen. Malvacece. One of the largest trees in the world. 

Native names. — Goraltfia-amli (Bomh.); Hujed (Arah.); Mowana (Afr.), and 
many others. 

Native of Africa (west and interior). " This is one of the largest and longest-lived 
trees in the world." ( Watt. ) Ahounds Senegal to Abyssinia. Found in India, where 
it has been cultivated experimentally. Introduced into the West Indies. 

Fiber. — Derived from the hark; strong and much valued for cordage; can be 
woven into cloth. The commercial fiber from Africa quoted in London market at 
£9 to £15 per ton. 

"The hard, outer bark is first chopped away, and the inner bark stripped off in 
large sheets. These are beaten to remove pithy matter, sun dried, and baled. Afri- 
cans use the fiber for rope, twine, and sacking. In India elephant saddles are made 
from it." (Spon.) "Cultivation deserves to be extended." (Watt.) 

This fiber has been mentioned as a raw material for pajier makers in this country. 
Ide and Christie, the London fiber brokers, inform me that the bark of this species has 
never been imported into Great Britain from either Senegal or Abyssinia. It 
has never been a large trade and has iuvariably come from St. Paul de Loando and 
perhaps some adjacent port in Portuguese west Africa, to either Liverpool or Hull. 
The fiber was held in some esteem by makers of strong light-colored wrappingpapers 
called in the trade "small hands," and ten or twenty years ago good parcels ranged 
in value from £8 to £10 per ton. It formerly came to Liverpool and Hull from the 
west coast, both direct and by way of Portugal, but no direct shipments have been 
made since 1892. The importations have fallen off from 190 tons in 1887 to 2 tons in 
1896. 

Adki (Ind.). See Areca catechu. 

Adiantum spp. Maiden-hair Ferns. 

A large genus of polypodiaceous ferns, the representatives of which are found in 
many parts of the world, but more particularly in the Tropics. They all have black 
shining stipes, and in structure are unlike any other ferns. 

Structural Fiber. — A. pedatum is a beautiful specimen found in this country. 
It affords "an elegant material for the woof of the nicer caps and baskets of the 
Hoopa and Klamath Indians." (Dr. V. Havard.) 

The black glossy stalks of A. caplllus -veneris, as well as of Pteris decipiens, are 
worked by native women (of Hawaii) into ornamental baskets and mats (Hille- 
brand). Native Hawaiian name, Iwaiiva. 

^Eschynomene aspera. 

Exogen. Leguminosw. A small subfloating bush. 
Native names. — Sola or Shola (Beng.); Paukpan (Burm.). 
Frequents marshes, growing in Bengal, Burma, Assam, and South India during 
the inundation period. 

Fiber. — Derived from the bark (in Burma). The pith is used for floats bj fish- 
ermen, and the same is used by Europeans for making hats, which are very light and 
perfect protectors from the sun's heat. See Die. Ec. Prod. Ind., Vol. I, p. 125. 

African Button Flower. Dais cotinifolia. 
African Millet. Meusine coracana. 
Agave spp. 

A very large genus of fleshy-leaved plants belonging to the Amaryllidacece, chiefly 
found in Mexico, and Central and South America, a few species creeping up to and 



42 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

crossing the southern boundaries of the United States. Some of the species, as the 
familiar Century plant (A. americana), are cultivated in our conservatories as orna- 
mental plants. They flower hut once, sending up a flower stalk or "mast" some- 
times the height of 20 feet, upon which the flowers appear. Two or three species 
furnish valuable commercial fibers, while others not known to commerce might be 
utilized in like manner. Several of the species in Mexico yield the distilled liquor 
known as mescal, as well as the fermented pulque, both of which are national bever- 
ages. A few of the more interesting of the Agaves that are used for fiber are 
described at length in the pages which follow, and some others that I have treated 
for fiber are briefly referred to here. Among the Agaves used by the Indians of the 
United States maybe mentioned A. heteracantha, which is treated at length on another 
page. Dr. Havard names A. palmeri and A. parry i as the mescal plants of the Apaches 
and other Indians. They also yield useful fibers, scraped from the edible portions of 
the baked leaves. 

In June, 1891, the leaves of some 20 species of Agave were collected at the United 
States Botanical Gardens, Washington, and run through a Van Buren machine. Small 
museum specimens only were secured, and the quality of the fiber was found to be 
as follows: A. americana, fiber as strong as A.sisalana from greenhouse plants, 
but quite inferior to the Florida-grown fiber. This species is fully described below. 
A. brauniana, a weak fiber, resembling A. jacquiniana. A. caribasa, fiber similar to 
A. rariegata in color and general appearance, but finer, and showing less strength 
than A. americana. A. corderoyi, fiber straight, fine, white, of average strength. A. 
coccinea, three varieties, worthless. A.flaccida gave a very fine fiber; not straight, 
approaching in strength that of A. sisalana. A. decipiens, worthless. A. inghami, a 
coarse, harsh fiber, the filaments smooth and polished, and of such stiffness that the 
material would make a superior brush fiber, possibly rivaling the tampico of com- 
merce derived from A. heteracantha. Under repeated tests three filaments stood an 
average strain of 10 pounds. A. jacquiniana, a very fine, white fiber, but possess- 
ing no strength. A. pruinosa, worthless. A. kerchovei, a harsher fiber than that 
obtained from the rigida group below, but apparently having less strength; some- 
what resembles tampico. J. rigida var. elongata, similar to the preceding, the fiber 
not distinguishable from it in appearance or strength. A. rigida var. longifolia, gave 
fiber that was much finer than that from A. sisalana (above), but quite deficient in 
strength. In appearance it resembles the fiber from A. americana rather than A. sisal- 
ana, though differing from either. A. rigida var. sisalana (greenhouse plants), the 
fiber appeared to be finer than that from Florida plants, and not quite so strong. 
A. salmiana, almost as fine as the fiber from A. americana ; not straight; very little 
strength. A. viripara, similar to A. inghami, though not so coarse, but of sufficient 
stiffness to produce a good brush fiber. The fiber if washed when extracted would 
have come out very white. Three filaments bore an average strain of 7 pounds. 
These two species yielded about 5 per cent of pure bristle fiber. A. variegata, fiber 
very white, crinkly, and elastic, stronger than A. americana, but inferior to good sisal 
hemp. 

Out of 1G species other than A. rigida (varieties) but 2 species can take rank with 
A. rigida var. sisalana in strength, A. inghami and A. riripara. In the next grade 
I would place A. flaccida, A. americana, A. kerchovei, and possibly A. corderoyi, while 
the other species are either not half the strength of J. sisalana or are worthless. .J. 
lateverena went to pieces in the machine, coming out in short, pulpy fragments. 
It would be interesting to secure filter from those species as grown in the open air of 
the Tropics. Xo doubt several of the better species would give fiber of fair strength, 
though inferior to sisal hemp grown under the same conditions. 

A. Isabel Mnlford, in the Seventh Report of the Missouri Botanical Garden, names, 
as the Agaves of the United States, .1. virginica, A. rirginica var. tigrina, A. variegata, 
A. maculata, A. schottii, A. schottiivar. serrulata, A . parviflora, A. lecheguilla, A. utah- 
ensis, A. deserti, A. applanata, with varieties parrgi and huachncensis, A. shawii. A. 
palmeri, A. asperrima, A. americHna, A. rigida var. sisalana, A. di cipiens, and two species 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 43 

which remain unidentified, one of these being the immense Agave figured by the 
author on page 38 of Rept. 5, Fib. Inv. series. 
The commercial Agaves are described on the pages which follow. 

Agave americana. Century Plant. American Aloe. 

Endogen. Amaryllidacecv. Aloe-like leaf cluster. 

Native names. — Maguey, the plant; Pita, the fiber (Mex.); Pile, aloes (Fr.); 
Bans-keora (Hind.); Jungli (Beng.); Cutthalay-nar (Ind. of Royle) ; Seubbara 
(Arab.). 

A native of tropical America, but now distributed over both hemispheres. Em- 
ployed in the United States as an ornamental plant; in Mexico, for its fiber; in India 
(Madras), as a hedge plant along railways ; in Spain and Sicily, for cordage and mats ; 
in the West Indies, for cordage, hammocks, and fishing lines; in South America, 
for various uses. Fig. 1, PI. I, is a century plant in the grounds of the Alcazar Hotel, 
St. Augustine, Fla. 

Structural Fiber. — Three to 7 feet, derived from the leaves. " Commercial fiber 
is white to straw color. Its main faults are the stiffuess, shortness, and thinness of 
wall of the individual fibers, and a liability to rot." (Spon.) ' 'Composed of large 
filaments, white, brilliant, and readily separated by friction ; it takes color freely 
and easily. It is light, and contracts under water rapidly." (Watt.) Commercial 
quotation, London, £35 to £40 per ton. A number of samples in the Government 
fiber exhibit (W. C. E., 1893), including not only those prepared by myself, but 
samples extracted by Mr. T. Albee Smith, of Baltimore, show a line, soft, white fiber, 
of more or less brilliancy, a distinctive characteristic being a wavy or crinkled 
appearance which prevents the bundles of fibers in mass from lying closely parallel, 
as is the case with sisal hemp and similar straight fibers. Another marked peculiar- 
ity-is great elasticity. 

Dr. Forbes Royle states that the India pita has been found superior in strength to 
either coir, jute, or sunn hemp. In a trial of strength near Calcutta, the tests were 
made with ropes 1 fathom long and 3 inches in circumference, with the following 
results: The Agave or pita broke in a strain of 2,519^ pounds; coir, 2,175 pounds; 
jute, 2,456^ pounds, and sunn hemp, 2,269^ pounds. In an experiment with Russian 
hemp and pita, the first named broke with 160 pounds' weight, and the latter with 
270 pounds. These experiments show the great strength of the fiber, which is 
worthy of more extended cultivation and employment in the arts. 

Among the interesting uses of this fiber is the manufacture of lace by the peasant 
women of Fayal. At one time the Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. contained a valuable series 
of manufactures of this delicate and beautiful lace, which at that time was largely 
sold in Paris at very high prices. It was said by the donor of the series that there 
were but 25 women on the island capable of producing this lace, the art requiring 
practice from childhood. 

Cultivation and preparation.— The plant is cultivated in Mexico, in the south 
of Europe, in India, Mauritius, etc. The best account of the method of cultivation 
is given in the Die. Ec. Prod. Ind., Vol. I, p. 137. 

No attempt has been made in the United States either to cultivate the species or 
to use the leaves of growing plants for fiber. R. W. Paton, representing a California 
industrial company, corresponded with the Department of Agriculture a few years 
ago relative to cultivation in southern California, and proposed to utilize the fiber 
in commerce. The want of a good machine, however, was the principal obstacle 
met with in the endeavor to start the industry. A quantity of leaves were at that 
time sent to Mr. Van Buren, of Jacksonville, Fla., to be extracted by his machine, 
but this inventor found the leaves too thick and wide for the machine as at that 
time constructed. T. Albee Smith, has cleaned the leaves successfully on a machine 
described in Rept. 3, Fib. Inv., Dept. Ag., p. 39. A powerful machine employed for 
extracting the fiber is also described in Spon's Enc, pt. 3, p. 913. 



44 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

"The plant requires about three years to come to perfection, but it is exceedingly 
hardy, easy of propagation, very prolific, and grows in arid wastes where scarcely 
any other plant can live. It perishes after inflorescence, and then sends up numer- 
ous shoots. In Mexico 5,000 to 6,000 plants may be found on an acre. The aver- 
age number of leaves is 40, each measuring 8 to 10 feet long and 1 foot wide, and 
yielding 6 to 10 per cent by weight of fiber. The culture of the plant is being 
extended in America, but not in the proportion which its value deserves. In India 
it is all but neglected.'' (Spon.) 

A. americana is not found in Florida, save in conservatories or gardens, though 
an allied form was met with at various localities. Some magnificent cultivated 
examples were observed iu Fernandina, and others were noticed in St. Augustine, 
their leaves so large and fleshy that no ordinary machine could work them without 
first eutting them into strips. Though the plants come to maturity in three years, 
they do not flower before eight, and sometimes not before twenty years. 

Utility. — Twines and rope; fishing lines, nets, and hammocks; imitation horse- 
hair cloth, and other coarse fabrics; Fayal lace, and paper. For further details refer 
to Rept. U. S. Dept. Ag., 1879, p. 545; Fib. Inv. Rept. 5, p. 34; Kew Bull., 1889, p. 
301; Die. Ec. Prod. Ind., Vol. I, p. 134; Spon Enc, pt. 3, p. 912. 

* Specimens. — W. C. E., United States Government exhibit; from Mexico, Costa 
Rica, and India; U. S. Nat. Mus. ; Field Col. Mus. ; Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Agave aurea. 

Lower California and Sonora, Mexico. Recently described by Brandegee. The 
plant is recognized by the natives as a form of lechuguilla; wild, and cultivated in 
gardens. 

Specimens of the leaves of this plant were recently received by the Department 
from Louis F. Kwiat Kowski, of Los Angeles, Cal., who states that the native name 
of the plant is lechuguilla mescal. "There is also a lechuguilla maguey, and a lechu- 
guilla blanca. It is claimed that lechuguilla blanca gives the best mescal, while 
lechuguilla maguey is the most cultivated for the purpose." One of the largest leaves 
sent weighed, when freshly cut, 2^ pounds. Its length was about 20 inches not 
including spine, and its greatest width fully 6 inches. 

Structural Fiber. — This correspondent evidently confuses A. aurea with A . hetera- 
cantha, the lechuguilla which supplies the major part of the tampico or istie fiber 
of commerce. He says: "The lechuguilla mescal, leaves of which I send the Depart- 
ment, gives the istle fiber." In the mail with these specimens a leaf of the same 
species was received from T. Albee Smith, of Baltimore, and probably received by 
him from the above source, as the leaves are identical. Mr. Smith, who is thoroughly 
familiar with the commercial liber Agaves of Mexico, says: "I send you a sample 
leaf and fiber of an Agave I received last Friday from Lower California. They axe 
the first I have ever seen, of the size and description, with such fiber. I have seen a 
great many Agave plants having leaves of about this size, but the fiber was worth- 
less and obtained in very small quantities. My correspondent writes that he has sev- 
eral million plants that are now available, and he proposes to extract the fiber on a 
large scale; he has forwarded samples to dealers with good results. I have also for- 
warded several samples that he has sent me and have received good reports there- 
from, but I was under the impression that the samples sent me came from the regular 
lechuguilla until I received the sample leaf." 

This species is an interesting addition to our list of fiber plants that may be employed 
commercially. The liber compares well with tampico of commerce, and as the leaf 
is several times larger it can be more economically extracted. Its cultivation would 
mean a new and profitable industry, as the tampico of commerce is secured only from 
wild plants. See Agave heieracanlha. 

* Specimens. — Leaves and libers, Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. ; U. S. Nat. Herb. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



45 



Agave decipiens. The False Sisal Hemp of Florida. 

Found wild along the coasts and keys of the Florida peninsula. Species described 
by Dr. Baker from material obtained in the fiber investigations of the Department 
of Agriculture in Florida. Fig. 2, PL II, is a large false sisal plant photographed at 
the Government experimental factory on Biscayne Bay. 

Structural Fiber.— From the leaves; 2 to 3 feet, Biscayne Bay and keys; 3 to 
4 feet, Lake Worth region. In color very white, fine, soft ; about half as strong as 
sisal hemp, from which it is readily distinguished by its lighter color. An inferior 
fiber. 

Economic considerations. — The importance of this plant in the list of vegetable 
fibers is due to the fact that it has so long been confounded with the true sisal hemp 
of Florida, both by the people of Florida and by Bahamians who have purchased, or 
otherwise obtained, 
plants for cultivation 
in the Bahamas. The 
two forms, the false 
and the true sisal, dif- 
fer so greatly in habit 
and general appear- 
ance that there should 
be no mistaking them 
when their peculiari- 
ties are known. J. 
decipiens throws out its 
mass of leaves from the 
top of a footstalk, 
sometimes 6 feet high, 
the leaves seeming to 
radiate like a many- 
pointed star, while the 
color is always in 
strong contrast to the 
surrounding vegeta- 
tion. The true sisal 
plant, on the contrary, 
sends up its mass of 
leaves from the sur- 
face of the ground, 
though sometimes 
with a very shert foot- 
stalk, this difference 
alone rendering iden- 
tification easy, for before the lower leaves of sisalana have been cut, as in cultivation, 
the plant never shows this habit. Other marked differences are : The shorter, nar- 
rower leaf in decipiens nearly always (on the keys) rolled in at the sides.so that a cross 
section appears like the letter U. In color it is a brighter, more livid green. Its 
spines, which are very thickly set along the edges, are strongly curved, and so sharp 
that it is impossible to go about among the plants without lacerating the flesh or 
tearing the clothing. Even the young plants which have not acquired their footstalks 
differ so greatly from the young plants of sisalana that no one should mistake them 
after having had the differences once pointed out. The young sisalana grows very 
erect, the leaves being flatter and of a dark green, and without spines. The decipiens 
throws out its leaves with a more spreading habit, the lower series usually bent (recum- 
bent) to the ground, the leaves themselves being short, stocky, and with the edges mor6 
or less turned up. The color, even in the young plants, is a brighter green than sisalana, 




Fig. 9. — An old plant of Agave decipiens. 



46 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



the tout eusemble presenting a particularly marked form of plant. In their manner 
of poling we find the only similarity between the two. and this doubtless has caused 
the expensive mistake so often made by those collecting sisal plants, and through 
which ship loads have bees taken from Florida to the Bahamas in past time. Dr. 
Baker even says : "I can not make out any material difference between the flowers of 
the two species." The poling is not only similar, hut the young pole plants are 
similar, though I soon learned to detect a difference in the stockier appearance of the 
dtcipiens. But when once fixed in the soil the identity of the species is soon brought 
out in a marked manner. Fig. 9 is an old plant growing at Lake Worth, Florida. 

Coming to the fiber, we find the strongest mark of difference between the two 
forms of fiber plants. In decipiens it is whiter, finer, softer, and greatly deficient in 
strength, though it approaches nearer the appearance of the true sisal fiber than 
that of any of the allied Agaves not varieties of the A. rigida known commercially. 

A. decipiens is always most abundant iu the wilds, as on uniuhabited keys, where 
A. sisalana is never found. It is a singular fact, however, that in the Lake Worth 
region it changes its form somewhat, the leaves being longer and often flattened 
(sometimes perfectly flat . but always provided with the footstalks and armed with 

the terrible spines. For 
further accounts see 
Fib.Inv. Kept. 5, p. -28; 
Kew Bull., 1892, p. 183. 

*S2)ecimens. — W.C. E., 
United States Govern- 
ment exhibit: Mus. U. 
S. Dept. Ag. ; Field Col. 
Mus., Chicago. 

Agave deserti. 

This species, discov- 
eredby Lieutenant Em- 
ory in 1846, is found at 
the base of the coast 
range in San Diego 
County. Cal., extending 
into the adjoining des- 
ert. vSee fig. 10.) 

Structural Fiber. — 
■• This species has very 
fibrous leaves; is used 

for ropes, mats, nets, etc., and even for sewing thread/' (Dr. V. Havard.) 

Specimens of the fiber, and rope made from it by the Calif orni i Indians, collected 

by Dr. Edward Palmer, are in the U. S. Nat. Mus. The fiber is very harsh, but 

strong and durable. 

Agave heteracantha. Lechuguilla. Mexican Fiber. 

Endogen. AmaryllidacecB. Low aloe-like leaf cluster. 

Native names.— telle or Ixtle (Mex.); Tampico hemp, the commercial name. 

Found in Mexico, southwestern Texas, and southern California. ''The various 
plants from which istle is extracted are found at i^resent chiefly on the plains and 
rugged mountain slopes of the States of Coahuila. Tamaulipas, Nnevo Leon, and 
San Luis Potosi. The central towns for the trade in the several States are: In 
Coahuila. Saltillo; in Nnevo Leon. Monterey: in Tamaulipas, Jaumava, Tula, Tam- 
pico, and formerly Matamoras; in San Luis Potosi, San Luis Potosi." (Kew Bull., 
Oct., 1890.) Fig. 2, PL I, represents a plant of this species growing in the United 
States Botanic Garden. 

STRUCTURAL FIBER, — Derived from the leaves; stiff, harsh, but pliant, bristle-like. 




Fig. 10.— Plant of Agave deserti. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



47 



Employed as a substitute for animal bristles aud for the manufacture of cheap brushes ; 
length, 18 inches to 2 feet. "The best known fiber plant of northern Mexico and 
southwestern Texas. In extracting the fiber the parenchyma or pith squeezed out 
(40 per cent of the leaf) is a valuable substitute for soap, possessing remarkable 
cleaning and detergent qualities." (Dr. V. Havard.) 

Economic considerations. — Until recently there has been considerable doubt as 
to the identity of the species of Agave from which the istle of commerce is produced. 
The common name of the plant is lechuguilla (or "lechigilla"), and the writers upon 
the subject usually refer to it under this name. In the report of 
the Mexican Boundary Survey the name Agave lecheguilla appears 
as the botanical designation of a plant producing a coarse fiber 
employed in the manufacture of cordage and bagging. Specimens 
of this fiber, and brushes made from it, were sent to the Kew 
Mus. fourteen years ago by the late Dr. C. C. Parry, formerly 
botanist of this Department, and from this and other material 
the identity of the plant, or plants, producing "tampico hemp" 
has been established. In Appendix XXI, Eeport of the Chief of 
Ordnance for 1883, there is a report on brush material and the 
manufacture of brushes, by Capt. A. L. Varney, in which appears" 
an account of this fiber, with rude figures. This writer, misled 
by Squier in his work on Tropical Fibers, makes istle the prod- 
uct of Bromelia sylvestris. He also produces a letter from Hon. J. 
McLeod Murphy to the Department of Agriculture, who states 
that the average length of the leaf is 6 feet. This would indicate 
that Mr. Murphy has also been mistaken in the identity of the 
plant, and doubtless, likewise, has referred it to Bromelia sylvestris. 
The confusion is complicated by Spon (Enc, pt. 3, p. 985), who 
refers it to Nidularium Karatas, "Silk grass," Bromelia sylvestris 
being cited as an alternative name. Specimens of the plant 
furnishing the true istle have been examined by the w'riter from 
different sources in the past two years. The leaves have also been 
examined at T. Albee Smith's establishment in Baltimore, and they 
have never averaged over 18 inches in length. Mr. Smith has also 
produced the fiber in quantity in Mexico and is familiar with the 
plant. At the same time there is no doubt that several other allied 
species of Agave (having harsh, bristle-like fiber) are also employed 
in obtaining the commercial supply of istle. Mr. Smith states, 
however, that fully 90 per cent of the fiber made in Mexico is from 
the species represented by the leaves of A. heteracantha. For further 
accounts, see Fib. Inv. Rept. 5, p. 38; Kew Bull., Dec, 1887, p. 5; 
Idem, Oct., 1890, p. 220. See also Agave aurea, this catalogue. 

* Specimens. — W. C. E., United States Government exhibit (man- 
ufactures also shown) ; Mexican exhibit, from various localities; Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 



Fig. 11.— A leaf of 
Agave heteracan- 
tha. 



Agave mexicana. 

This species is also called the maguey, and is said to be one of the Agaves allied to 
A. americana which produces the liquor called pulque and the spirit known as mescal. 
As its fiber bears a close resemblance to that of the century plant, no special mention 
is necessary, and reference is made to that species. The plant referred to in Rept. 5, 
Fib. Inv. series, as A. mexicana is A. decipiens. 

Agave morrisii. The Keratto of Jamaica. 

Fiber. — "Fiber of little strength and undesirable; value £12 to £14 per ton; it 
is not an even fiber." (Ide <f Christie.) 
Economic considerations. — Has been referred to, in West Indian sisal hemp 



48 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

literature, as "the worthless Jceratto." An attempt was recently made to start a 
fiber industry in the Virgin Islands, east of Puerto Rico, with this species, but with 
unsatisfactory results. 

"Keratto is a term widely used in the West Indies in connection with Auave plants. 
It is used generic-ally for the whole trihe of American aloes. The Jceratto of Jamaica 
is A. morrisii of Baker. The Jceratto of the Leeward Islands is A. polyantha; what 
the Jceratto of the other islands is we can not say. In any case we can not derm- 
any species by the name. It only means generically an Agave of some kind." Dr. 
ATorri-. 

Agave potatorum. 

This species is possibly A. scolymus. 

The species, which is much smaller than A. salmiana. is employed in the region of 
Tehuacan for making the brandy called mescal or mezcal. and for this reason Zu<- 
carini has given to it the name A. potatorum. Many other species of maguey art- 
like wise employed in the manufacture of mescal, but this species does not generally 
produce textile fiber. 'Dr. Weber.) See A. salmiana. 

Agave rigida elongata. Sisal Hemp of Yucatan. The Sacqui 
or Sac ci of Dr. Per rune. 

Agave rigida sisalana. Sisal Hemp of Florida and the Baha- 
mas. The Tashqui or Taxci of Dr. Perrine. 

Endogen. Amaryllidacea. Aloe-like leaf cluster. 

Native names. — Henequen or Jenequen (Ync); Sosquil Mex. : Cdbutta or Cabuya 

Cent. Am.). 

Natives of Yucatan, but found in other portions of Mexico, Honduras, Central 
America, and distributed to the West Indies and to the islands of the Caribbean >ea. 
"Recommended for culture in Victoria*' (Spon). The variety sisalana was intro- 
duced into Florida by Dr. Perrine in 1836. Introduced into the Bahamas by C. Nesbit 
in 1845. Large importations of Florida plants into the Bahamas in recent years. 
Fig. 1, PL II, represents a sisal thicket, with plants in "pole," on Indian Key. 

Structural Fiber. — Yellowish white, straight, smooth, clean. A valuable cord- 
age fiber, second only to manila in strength. Does not require retting, and dries white 
from the machine when well cleaned, without washing. The Yucatan fiber (of com- 
merce . a little coarser than the Florida fiber. As freshly imported sometimes shows 
a greenish tinge, due to careless manipulation. "The yaxci or yashqni). with shorter 
leaf of bright velvety green, produces less fiber, but excels in softness, flexibility, and 
luster, and brings a higher price in the market." (Dr. Schott.) 

Climate axd soil. — The plants will not stand frost. Northerly limit of safe cul- 
tivation in Florida the line of 27^ north latitude running across the State. Possibly 
may be grown a little higher in the interior with safety. Fully matured plants will 
stand one or two degrees of frost without injury. 

The majority of writers agree that arid, rocky land is suited to the growth of the 
plant. The soil of Yucatan best suited to this culture is of a gravelly, stony, and in 
some places of a rocky character, the plants thriving best and yielding the la: _ 
amount of fiber in comparatively arid districts only a few feet above the level of 
the sea. On the other hand, moist or rich land is considered unsuited because 
of the lessor yield of the fiber which results. The plants thrive upon the Florida 
3, Indian Key especially, upon the almost naked coral rock, with a luxuriant 
thj and similar conditions prevail in the Bahamas where plantations have been 
established. 

mivatiox. — The lirst consideration is the preparation of the land. If hum- 
mock growth, the timber is simply cleared. In other situations, and especially 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



49 



where palmetto scrub occurs, the soil must be cleared of tbese roots, there being 
about 20 cords of roots to the acre. Dr. Washburn, of Fort Myers, estimates the 
expense of clearing the land in this manner at $25 (see statements upon this subject, 
in Fib. Inv. Kept. No. 3, U. S. Dept. Ag.). As sisal plants will not thrive when 
even slightly shaded, all other growth should be cleared away. 

Plantations are established by setting either suckers or "pole plants." Suckers are 
the shoots which spring from the roots of old plants. Pole plants form on the blos- 
som stalk of old plants that have flowered. (See fig. 13.) When the old plant flowers, 
it sends up a stalk, or "pole," 
as it is called, to the height 
of 15 or sometimes 20 feet. 
After the tulip-shaped blos- 
soms which appear have 
begun to wither, there starts 
forth from the point of con- 
tact with the flower stalk a 
bud, which develops into a 
tiny plant, which, when 
grown to the length of sev- 
eral inches, becomes de- 
tached and falls to the 
ground. Such pole plants 
as come in contact with the 
soil take root, and in a very 
short time are large enough 
to transplant. In the Ba- 
hamas these flower-stalk 
plants are largely utilized in 
establishing sisal fields, and 
with as good results as 
where the suckers alone are 
used. Precisely the same 
course must be pursued in 
Florida. Such plants should 
first be set out in the nurs- 
ery. It should be remem- 
bered that the smaller the 
plants used in establishing 
a plantation the longer the 
time that must elapse be- 
fore leaves are sufficiently 
mature to cut for fiber. 

In setting out plants in 
Florida, we must be guided 
by the experience of other 
countries. In the Bahamas 
650 plants are set to the acre 
in rows 11 feet by 6 feet Fig. 12.— Blossoms of false sisal liemp plant. 

distant from each other. "This will give room for the laborers to work between 
the rows without being wounded by the terrible spurs. Besides, closer planting 
would result in the piercing of innumerable leaves every time the wind blew, and 
the consequent destruction of fiber. Stabs and bruises mean discoloration." (Edgar 
Bacon.) Evidences of this are seen, in every "wild" sisal patch growing on the 
Florida keys. 

The number of plants usuallv set out in an acre in Yucatan is 650. Rows 11 to 12 
12247— No. 9- — 4 ' 




50 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



feet apart and 6 feet apart in the row; some old fields 9 feet between the rows and 
4 feet in the row, the plants set with considerable regularity. The plants receive 
two dressings the lirst year and one every year afterwards. 

The size of the cultivations on the estates range from 250 to 3,500 acres. They are 
laid out in fields or sections of 50 to 200 acres, and contain from 600 to 000 plants to 
the acre. When preparing the fields, the land is cut during the dry season, is then 
allowed to spring up. after which it is " sprig weeded,'' and burned after the first fall 
of rain. The stumps are cut close to the ground, so as to be out of the way of the 
leaves of the plants and to facilitate the running of the line for planting and get- 
ting the rows straight. When planting, the laborers have a small line with the dis- 
tanees at which the plants are to be set out knotted on it and a pole cut to the 
length that the rows are to be apart. A man and a boy are employed at each line. 
The boy drops the plants along the row at the distance marked on the line, and 
then removes the line to the nest row, dropping the plants as before. The man does 

the planting, and is responsible 
for the rows being straight. 
When coming to a rock the 
planter does not turn aside, 
but goes on and places the plant 
in the row a little beyond. (Stu- 
art's Report.) 

Mr. Stuart states that the hemp 
plantations in Yucatan vary from 
500 to 28,000 acres in extent, 
with a total number of 105,000 
acres under cultivation, employ- 
ing 12,000 Indian laborers. The 
largest and best estates are on 
the rocky, gravelly lands, and 
they are valued from $100,000 
to $500,000 each. Each estate 
is managed by three principal 
men — the attorney, the manager, 
and assistant manager. The 
largest estates employ locomo- 
tives for hauling in the crop from 
the fields, others using tramway 
trucks or carts drawn by mules 
or oxen. Estates with less than 800 acres under cultivation erect one Raspadoi (see 
fig. 16) for every 100 acres. Those of 1,000 acres use the large automatic machines. 

Regarding the rate of growth in Florida, a plant set out at 18 inches high, from 
the nursery, -will produce leaves fit for cutting in three years. 

''In June, 1887, I set out plants around my house; these were from 6 to 8 inches 
high. At the end of the first year small plants began to appear around the base, 
which I used for proj>agation. At two years the leaves of the large plants were 2 
feet 8 inches long at the same time the longest leaves were :! feet 2 indies long and 
were fit to commence cutting. The result of one plant here of two and one-half years' 
growth is an average of 17 young plants and 10 leaves sufficiently long to harvest. 
The same plant in its fourth year will give a still larger result, increasing in use- 
fulness each year until it flowers in its eleventh to its thirteenth year, which ends 
the life of the plant.'' {Robert Hanson.) 

Mr. Cleminson, of Jupiter, states that the average length of the leaf from a 1-year- 
old plant as grown in Florida is 3 feet 3 inches when cut, and for three years after- 
wards <> inches longer each year. Thrifty plants 7 years old will produce leaves 5 
feet in length. 
"The length of time required for the production f the first cutting of leaves may, 




Fig. 13.— Pole plants or slips, Agave sisalana. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



51 



I think, safely be regarded as 4 years from the time of planting. A great deal 
depends upon the size of the plants when transplanted, hut 
if they he of a suitable size, say from 12 to 15 inches, with- 
out doubt the leaves will attain a length of from 4 to 5 feet 
and be fit to cut well within the period named. 1 have seen 
thousands of plants with leaves from 2 to 3 feet long that 
had been growing only two years; I have also seen plants 
that, I was told, were 3 years old, from which leaves had 
been already cut." (Rae's Report.) 
| The life of a plant when undisturbed is six or seven years, 

after which it sends up its blossom stalk and then perishes. 
In Yucatan cutting extends the life of the plant fifteen to 
twenty years; T. Albee Smith says twenty-five years. 
No special cultivation is needed further than to see that 
the land is kept clean and the suckers kept down. These 
are valuable for starting new plantations. 

Yield of Fiber. — The annual yield of fiber in Yucatan 
is from 1,000 to 1,470 pounds per acre; 50 to 70 pounds of 
fiber is derived from 1,000 leaves. Calculating 33 leaves to 
the plant as the annual cuttings from the 
650 plants on an acre, the 21,450 leaves may 
be said to yield 1,287 pounds of clean fiber. 

T. Albee Smith states that the plants are 
set out in Yucatan at the rate varying from 
96 to 140 plants per mecate (one-tenth of 
an acre). The latter is thought to bring 
the best yield and longest fiber — say 1,400 
plants per acre. The producer pays a tax to 
the State of 3 cents per arroba (25 pounds), 
which equals $2.40 per ton of 2,000 pounds. 
He has seen 90 leaves cleaned in five min- 
utes on one wheel with two feeders, but says 
that this speed can not be continued. One 
thousand leaves of henequen weigh in the 
rainy season 160 to 200 arrobas, in the dry 
season, 100 to 160 arrobas. One thousand 
leaves average a yield of 55 pounds of fiber. 

The average weight of a leaf of the Mexi- 
can form of plant is 1 pound, 10 ounces, 
according to reliable authorities. A calcu- 
lation based on the above figures places the 
yield of dried fiber from 2,240 pounds of 
leaves at 82 pounds and a fraction. The 
actual product of a long ton of Indian Key 
(Florida) leaves from the sisalana form as 
determined by the Department's Florida ex- 
periments is about 79 pounds. The machine 
made a very considerable waste, which, 
after being carefully washed and dried, 
gave a weight of 22-J- pounds from the ton 
of leaves. This gives a total of very nearly 
102 pounds of straight fiber and waste from 
a ton of leaves. Regarding the waste made 
by the Raspador in Mexico no statements 
can be made. The average yield of 2,000 



1 



Fig, 14.— Leaves of the true 
sisal hemp plant. 



Fig. 15. — Leares 
of the false sisal 
hemp plant. 



pounds of sisal leaves in the Bahamas is 75 pounds, equivalent to 83 pounds to the 



52 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



long ton. Wastage not stated. Dr. Morris reduces these yields to equivalents, 
in Kew Bull.. 1893. p. 207. "Highest possible yield [waste accounted for . 4.6 per 
cent: yield in Yucatan' with the Baspador. 3.6 pel cent; in Florida (Van Buren 
machine), 3.5 per cent : in Bahamas (supposed to he Van Buren machine. C. R. 1). . 3.7 
per cent." Percentage with the automatic machines in present use in the Bahamas, 
unknown. See figs. 14 and 15, leaves of true and I Ise sisal hemp.) 

Harvesting and preparation. — Little can l»e said on these points from actual 
experience in our own country. The machinery used in the Government experii 
in southern Florida was too small and too slow to give a basis lor estimating cost of 
production. See fig. 17. the Van Buren machine. 

The cutting of the leaves is done in Yucatan by Indians, using a heavy-bladed, 
saber-like knife called a machete. The task - _ to 2,500 leaves per day. The 

spine at the leaf end is cut off and the leaves bundled for removal to the machine-. 

On large j'lantations the leaves 
are transported by steam power 
over tramways running from 
different x^ortions of the estate. 
ns. — Complete series 
illustrating the Government 
experiments in Florida, Field 
Col. Mus.: Mus. U. S. Dept. 
Ag. : U. S. Nat. Mus. 




Agave salmiana. The 
Maguey Blaudo of 
Mexico. 

Fiber. — Specimens shown 

in the Mexican exhibit at the 
Paris Exposition closely re- 
sembled the fiber of J. anteri- 
cana : white, wavy, of medium 
strength. Fiber from a plant 
of A. salmiana growing in the 
United States Botanic Garden, 
extracted by the Department, was coarse, harsh, and wiry, without any of the char- 
acteristics of Mexican samples. 

Dr. Weber, of Paris, informs me that the maguey, or metl, which is cultivated on 
the plains of Apam for the production of pulque, bears in Mexico the name maguey 
manso fxno, and is the A. salmiana; A. potatorum, reported by Antonio G. Cubas, 
being an error. See J. potatorum. 

• Specimens. — U. S. Vat. Mus. : Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Agave tuberosa. Cabulla of Costa IJica. See FurcrcBa. 



Fig. 16.— liaspador or Patrnlllo machine used in Mexico. 



Agave vivipara. Bastard Aloe. 

Endogen. Amaryllidacea. Aloedike leaf cluster. 
Native Mexican name, Theo-metl ; Chouca of the Antilles. 
Flourishes - thern United States; tropical America: northwest provinces of 
India. Closely resembles J. virginica, also growing in the United Stal 

Structural Fiber. — Said to be strong and useful. Known as Bombay aloe fiber. 
"In thej _ ;iber is made from its leaves." {India. Uudh Gazetteer.) Used for 

:id twine in India. 
* Specimen. — Pot. Mus. Harv. Univ. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



53 



Agave 

A species of Agave Avhich Las not yet been identified was found in many portions 
of southern Florida. Fine specimens of the leaves have been sent from the Indian 
River region by Mr. McCarthy, who states that the plant is common in that section. 
I have myself seen it growing at Jupiter, at Lake Worth, and at other points on the 
mainland to the southward as far as the Perrine grant, but do not recall a specimen 
on any of the keys. The mature leaves measure 5 feet or more in length, 8 to 10 
inches in breadth, and will weigh 8 pounds or more. The serrations on the edges 
are very fine and close set, the terminal spine being present. The color of the leaf 
is a light bluish green. (See fig. 18). 

Fig. 1, PI. Ill, shows several young plants of this species found on Addison's place, 
Perrine grant, in southern Florida. 

A quantity of small leaves of this species were run through the machine at Cocoa- 
nut Grove, but owing to the thickness of the butts it was necessary to split each 




Fig. 17.— The Van Buren machine, used in the experiments of the Department in Florida. 

leaf info four pieces acd crush the butts with a mallet. The fiber is similar to that 
of A. amerlcana in every respect, crinkly, elastic, and very white. A sufficient 
quantity of the fiber was secured for exhition purposes, but not enough for test in 
manufacture. See The Agaves of the United States, by A. Isabel Mulford, St. Louis, 
1896, and Rept. No. 5, Fib. Inv. series, p. 38. 

* Sjiecimens. — Field Col. Mus. ; Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Agbari-ettu (Afr.). See Alafia. 

Aguaje (Peru). See Mauritia flexuosa. 

Agust, Agusta, Agasti. East Indian names of Sesbania grandiflora. 

Agotai (Phil. Is.). See Musa textilis. 

Akaroa (New Zea.). Flagianthus betulinus. 



54 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



Ake-iri (Torubalaud). See Urena lobata. 
Akia (Hawaii). WiTcstroemia viridijlora. 
Akpako (Yorubalaiid). Rcvphia v in if era. 
Alfa (Alg.). See Stipa tenacissima. 
Alafia sp. 

This creeper grows wild, Yorubalanci, west Africa, where it is called Agbari-citu ; 
species not identified. 

Bast Fiber. — The stems are used to make a coarse rope for tying rafters, in 

house construction. (Kew Bull., 1891, p. 208.) 

Albardine (Alg.). See Lygeum spartum. 
Algae. See Seaweeds. 
Albero (It.) = Tree. 

del pane, Artocarpus incisa; della seta, 

Asclepias fruticosa (now Gomphocarpus fruticosus). 

Algodon (Sp.). See Gossypium. 
Ali (Ind.). See Lin urn usitatissimum. 
Allaeanthus zeylanicus. 

Exogen. Uriicaceoe. A tree. 

Native of Ceylon, 1,000 to 2,000 feet elevation, 
where the plant is known as Allandoo-gas. 

Fiber. — The inner hark furnishes a very tough 
liber, employed in many native uses. 

Allandoo-gas. See AUccanthns zeylanicus. 
Aln kabel (Ceyl.). See Musa sapientum. 
Alnus nitida. 

Exogen. Beiulucece. A large tree. 
Native Indian names. — Shral, sarali, etc. 
Found in the Himalayas, 1,000 to 9,000 feet ele- 
vation ; principal value for dyeing and tanning. 

Fiber. — The natives employ the young twigs in 
rope hridges and for tying loads, etc. ; also used for 
making "baskets. (Die. Ec. Prod. Ind., Vol. I, p. 
\ J 177. 

m Alocasia macrorrhiza. See Arum. 

■Dp Ai ° e - 






FlG. 18.- 



• Leaves of Florida Agave (spe- 
cies unidentified). 



Tbe American 



Agave americana : 



tbe 



lace, the Lace of Fayal made from this species; 

Bastard . or False , A. vivipera : 

leaved Adam's needle, Yucca aloifolia. Savorgnan gives boemica as a common 

Italian name of J. americana. See also Aloe vera. 



Aloes. 

The name is usually applied to the hitter extract from the leaves of certain species 

of Aloe, valued in pharmacy. Barbados and Indian , Aloe vera. Also applied 

to fiber plants , veri, Furcraa gigantea; the word is used by tbe French to des- 

ignate Agave americana, though Bernardin states that it is a French generic term 
applied to the Agaves generally. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 55 

Aloe vera. Barbados Aloes. Indian Aloes. 

Endogen. Liliacew. Rosette of thick leaves with central flower stalk. 
Native Indian names. — Ghi-kavar, Ghirta-Jcumari, and many others. 

The plant is said to be a native of northern Africa. Canary Isles, and southern 
Spain, and its many varieties have been introduced into all tropical countries. 
Cultivated in the West Indies, Barbados, and Antigua. Grows generally in India, 
and in south India has escaped from cultivation. 

Structural Fiber. — While the plant is grown for its medicinal qualities, the leaves 
contain a good fiber which could be utilized, as the leaves are of no further use after 
the juice has been extracted. This fiber should not be confounded with the Aloe 
fiber of commerce derived from Agave americana. 

* Specimens of fiber from A. indicd were exhibited in the Indian department at the 
W. C. E., 1893, Chicago. 

Alsi (Hind.). Linum usitatissimum. 

Althaea cannabina. 

Exogen. Malvacece A shrub. 

This species is found in southern Europe — Spain and Italy — and is also indigenous 
to southern Russia, Hungary, and the Caucasus. In Italy it is known as Canapa 
salvatica, or wild hemp. 

Fiber. — The bast is said by Savorgnan to yield a fiber in Spain that is employed 
"for very fine cloth." Enumerated in Bernardin's catalogue as a fiber plant. 

Althaea rosea. The Hollyhock. 

This species of Malvaceae, which is the origin of the common hollyhock, grows 
wild in China and also southern Europe. It is similar to the common marsh mallow, 
A. officinalis. 

Bast Fiber. — A sample of its fiber of good length, experimentally prepared by 
Henry Koenig, a Missouri correspoudeut, was recently sent to the Department. The 
fiber is bright in color, a light straw, but exhibits only medium strength; would be a 
poor jute substitute. 

* Specimen. — Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Alva marina. See Zostera. 

Ambada (Ind.). See Hibiscus cannabinus. 

American Aloe. Agave americana. 

Amole (II. S.). Ghlorogalum pomeridianum and other plants used for 
soap. 

Ambari hemp (Ind.). See Hibiscus cannabinus. 

Ambrosia trifida. Tall Bag-weed. 

Exogen. ComposiUe. A coarse annual weed. 

The species of this genus are found in North and South America, tropical India, 
and Africa, growing in waste places. 

Bast Fiber. — Dr. Havard states that the fiber of the tall, stout stems of the rag- 
weed were formerly utilized by Indians to make strings and ropes. 

Ammophila arenaria. Beach Grass. 

Syn. Psamma arenaria, Ammophila arundinacea. 
Endogen. Graminece. A sea reed or grass. 

Common names. — Marram, marum, sea reed, sea matweed, beach grass, bent 
grass, etc. 
Habitat : Temperate North America, Europe, northern Africa, and introduced into 



56 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



Australia. A. arenaria is native along the Atlantic coast of the United states and 
also on the coasts of -western Europe. It was introduced into Australia from Hol- 
land, and its Dutch name " Marram grass'" was taken with it. It is known in this 
country and in most places in England as "beach grass" and sea-sand grass. It 
is one of the most valuable of the grasses adapted to binding the drifting sands 
of our coasts, and has been cultivated for this purpose in this as well as in other 
countries. The action of this grass in holding the drifting sands is like that of 
brush or hushes cut and laid upon the ground in accummulating snow when drifted 
by the wind. The sand collects around the clumps of grass, and as it accumulates 
the grass grows up and overtops it, and will so continue to grow, no matter how 
high the sand hill may rise. A plant will, by gradual up-growth, finally form stems 
and root- sanded in to the depth of fully 10 feet. Many years ago it was as cus- 
tomary to warn the inhabitants of Truro and some other towns 
on Cape Cod to turn out to plant marram grass as it was in the 
inland towns to turn out and mend the roads. This was re- 
quired by law, with suitable penalties for its neglect, and took 
place in April. Marram grass is best propagated by trans- 
planting, the grass being pulled by hand and set in a hole 
about a foot deep and the sand pressed about it. (Scribner.) 
It is also used in Eastern countries and in Holland for binding 
the sands upon the coast and preserving them from the inroads 
of the sea. (See fig. 19). 

Structural Fiber. — In the north of England the grass is 
said to be used for table mats and basket work. Spon says 
that its fiber is used for paper making, matting, and agricul- 
tural tie bands; also employed as thatch material. Its fiber 
is not used in the United States. 
Specimens. — U. S. Xat. Herb. 

Amomum magnificum. 

Endogen. Zingiber acew. Herb. 
A genus of aromatic herbs. The species is found in Mauritius 
"From the very fine fiber of the leaves textures de luxe are 
made*' (Manual Hoepli). 

Ampelodesma tenax. Diss. 

Endogen. Graminea . 
The plant grows wild on the Algerian coast, and is said to 

produce 84 per cent of fiber, with an average length of 5 feet. 

One of the plants often confounded with Stipa tenacissima, as 

it grows wild in the regions where the true esparto abounds. 

In the Kew Mus. are shown examples of rope from the diss 
made in Genoa, lias been imported into Sicily for paper making. Nets from Am- 
pelodesma tenax have been used on the Tuscan coast in the tunney fishery. The nets 
are very durable if kept in water and protected from the action <>f the sun." I u't'. 
Guide Kew Mus. 




Fig. 19.— Marram gras.- 
Ammophila ar> nana. 



Amsonia tabernaemontana. 

Exogen. Apocynacece. Herb. 
A genus of Apocynacea? with five species, natives of North America. 
named has been received from Mr. S. S. Boyce, of Boiling Fork, Misa. 
it as a promising fiber plant. 



The species 
who regards 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 57 

Anadendrum sp. 

Endogen. Aracece. 

Native name. — Andaman Islands, Yolba. 
Fiber. — From the bark ; used for bowstrings and netted reticules carried by the 
women. 

Ananas sativa. Pineapple. 

Endogen. Bromeliacea . Aloe-like leaf cluster. 

Native names. — Ananas (Fr.); Piiia (Eastern Archipelago); Anannas (Beng.) ; 
Aainunnas (Arab, and Pers.) ; Po-lo-Ma (China). 

Native of tropical America, probably Brazil, and distributed over southern Europe, 
and tropical Asia and Africa. In the United States chiefly cultivated for its fruit 
in subtropical Florida. Dr. Morris informs me that the Croivia of British Guiana, a 
plant of which is growing at Kew, has been determined to be a wild form of the com- 
mon pineapple. The term silk grass, sometimes applied to its fiber, is meaningless' 
and a misnomer. See Croivia in the alphabetical arrangement. Fig. 2, PL III, shows 
the pineapple plant in cultivation. 

Structural Fiber. — "Both the wild and cultivated pineapple yield fibers which, 
when spun, surpass in strength, fineness, and luster those obtained from flax; can be 
employed as a substitute for silk, and as a material for mixing with wool or cotton." 
(Watt.) Useful for cordage, textile fabrics, sewing silk or twist, laces, etc. In 
China fabrics for clothing of agriculturists. In request in India as material for string- 
ing necklaces. Produces the celebrated pina cloth of the Philippine Islands. "It is 
remarkably durable, and unaffected by immersion in water; and is white, soft, silky, 
flexible, and long in staple." (Spon.) Samples cleaned, without washing, in the 
Government experiments in Florida, 1892, when twisted to the size of binding twine, 
showed a breakage strain of 150 pounds. Dr. Taylor subdivided a specimen of this 
fiber to one ten-thousandth of an inch. 

Economic considerations. — Pineapple culture, for its fruit, in Florida is a com- 
paratively recent industry, the first plantings having been made on the keys about 
1886, though the first plantation of commercial importance was not established until 
fifteen years later, on the Indian River. The value of the fiber has long been known, 
however, and in 1891 the fiber expert of the United States Department of Agriculture 
began a series of investigations into the practicability of utilizing the Florida leaves 
for fiber after the fruit has been gathered, as their utilization would give to the 
United States a new industry. In the experiments of 1892 it was shown that the 
yield of fiber from freshly cut pineapple leaves ranges from 45 to 60 pounds per ton 
of 2,240 pounds of leaves. An important point to be noted is the fact that selected 
leaves, as to size, do not give as high a yield of fiber as average leaves. Lot No. 1 
was 820 pounds of average leaves and 202 pounds of selected. While the total 1,022 
pounds of leaves gave 25 pounds of fiber, the 820 pounds gave 21 pounds of fiber 
against a yield of 4 pounds from 202 pounds of leaves. Reduced to equivalents, the 
average leaves yielded at the rate of 57| pounds to the ton, while the selected leaves 
yielded less than 44^ pounds of fiber to the ton. 

Lot No. 5 was from Fuzzard's plantation, near the Perrine grant, 1,000 pounds of 
leaves, tips cut off. The leaves averaged 10 to the pound. Dry fiber from this 
1,000 pounds weighed 18 pounds, 2 ounces, or a little over 40 pounds to the ton of 
leaves. It should also be noted that there was an excessive waste of fiber in the 
process of cleaning. 

Special Agent Monroe, who attended to the details of the experimental work of 
1892 in Florida, stated that the practice has been to allow the leaves to decay under 
the plant and afford possible nourishment to the young suckers. The general opin- 
ion on this point is in favor of cutting the leaves, but experiments covering several 
seasons will be necessary to properly decide this point. Owing to the practice on 
the keys of planting very close, it was found that a large proportion of the leaves 



58 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

■were injured by chafing one on another, and also from heing crushed under foot in 
weeding and cutting the fruit. This condition seems to he almost entirely ohviated 
by spacing the plants at least 2 feet, as has heen done on the mainland. Another 
defect was found in the withered condition of several iuches of the tip or end, not 
noticeahle in the younger leaves. This, however, may have heen due to the excessi ve 
drought of the season. It does not occasion much loss of fiher, hut adds to the cost 
of extraction, the decayed parts having to he cut off. The approximate acreage in 
pineapples in 1892 on keys Metacomha, Largo, and Elliott's was 930, and the num- 
ber of apples shipped (1892) about 1,916,400, which did not include many thousands 
marketed after the close of the season. 

The average yield of good leaves from the Red Spanish was about 10 out of the 
average 25 of each plant, and the weight 1 pound, making the total for fruited plants, 
in round numbers, 958 tons. Adding the leaves to be secured after the close of the 
season and from abandoned fields, the quantity might be raised to 1,000 or 1,100 
tons. This refers, of course, to extreme southern Florida, no account having been 
taken of the large acreage on Indian River and elsewhere. 

As to the value of the fiber, a London quotation for a lot of well cleaned from an 
Asiatic source was $150 per ton. There is no doubt that if the fiber could be pro- 
duced in quantity at an economical cost, manufacturers would soon find a use for it 
and would know what price they could afford to pay for it. The market price 
would then be fixed by the demand and supply. The machine question enters 
largely into the problem, however, and as the leaves are small a quantity would 
need to be cleaned at one feeding of the machine to make it pay. Estimating 10 
leaves to the pound, there would be over 22,000 leaves to the ton, which, as we 
have seen, would produce from 50 to 60 pounds of fiber. 

The machine used in the Department experiments produced a fine product, but in 
too small quantity to be employed commercially. There is no doubt that a modi lied 
sisal hemp machine (automatic) would do the work, although a machine has recently 
been constructed for all small-leaved plants that may be adapted to use in extract- 
ing this fiber. See Appendix A. 

The Chinese extract the fiber by hand. "The first step is the removal of the 
fleshy sides of the leaf. A man sitting astride a narrow stool extends on it in front 
of him a single leaf, one end of which is held beneath him. He then, with a kind of 
two-handled bamboo plane, removes the succulent matter. Another man receives 
the leaves as they are planed, and with his thumb nail loosens the fibers about the 
middle of the leaf, gathers them in his hand, and by one effort detaches them from 
the outer skin. The fihers are next steeped in water, washed, and laid out to dry 
and bleach on rude frames of split bamboo. The processes of steeping, washing, and 
exposing to the sun are repeated until the fibers are considered properly bleached. 
In the Philippines the blunt end of a potsherd is used and the fiber is carefully 
combed and sorted into four classes." (Spon.) 

The Chinese fiber is manufactured into a strong, coarse fabric resembling the 
coarser kinds of grass cloth. In Formosa its chief use is for the inner garments of 
the agricultural class. The fabric is called Huang-li-Pu. Pina is considered to be 
more delicate in texture than any other known to the vegetable kingdom. It i- 
woven from the untwisted fibers of the pineapple leaf after reducing them to extreme 
fineness and after the ends have been glued together to form a continuous thread. 
There is another delicate fabric, used for ladies' dresses, which is said to he manu- 
factured from pineapple fiher woven with silk, the latter forming lustrous stripes in 
soft colors or shades. 

The pineapple cloth of the Philippines is produced by the common pineapple also. 
i. e., Ananas sativa. The plants have become almost wild in Singapore and the Phil- 
ippines, with leaves 5 to 6 feet long. The fruit is small, but the leaves appear to 
yield better fiber than the cultivated plants. I Dr. Morris. ) 

Further accounts of the fiber will be found in the Ann. Rept. U. S. Dept. Ag., 18?9, 
p. r.12; Fib. Inv. Rept. No. 5, p. 44; Kew Bull., 1887, p. 8; Jan., 1889, p. 27; Oct., Nov., 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 59 

1891, p. 251; Spon. Enc, pt. 3, p. 917; Die. Ec. Prod. Ind., Vol. I, p. 236; Royle, 
Fib. PI. of Ind., p. 38. 

* Specimens. — Fiber, U. S. Nat. Mus. ; Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. ; Field Col, Mus. ; clotb, 
Bot. Mus. Harv. Univ. 

Ananas bracteatus. 

Syn. Bromelia sagenaria. 
A South American species, from which a good fiber has been extracted, called Gra- 
ivaiha by Savorgnan ; though Bernardin states that Grawatha is Bromelia medicalis. 

Ancient fibers. See Introduction. 

Andromachia igniaria. See Liabam igniarium. 

Andropogon gryllus. See Chrysopogon. 

Andropogon schcenanthus. Rusa or Ginger Grass of India. 

This species yields an oil which is used in European Turkey to adulterate attar of 
roses. It abounds in tropical and subtropical Asia and Africa. 

Structural Fiber.— Specimens of this grass are preserved in the Mus. U. S. 
Dept. Ag. It is described in India as a tall grass, too coarse to stack, but used for 
thatching and for screens. 

Andropogon sorghum vulgaris. Broom Corn. 

Endogen. Graminece,. A giaut grass. 

Cultivated in many parts of the world. Andropogon sorghum includes many varie- 
ties, a number of which have been recognized by some authors as distinct botanical 
species under the genus Sorghum; others, including Hackel, have referred them all 
to the genus Andropogon. The same name has been applied to different varieties, 
and the same variety has often been designated under various names. All the forms 
are of Eastern origin, and have arisen probably from a common stock through ages 
of cultivation. From varieties of this species are obtained grain, which furnishes 
nutritious food for man and domestic animals, particularly poultry; sirup and sugar 
in commercial quantities are obtained from the saccharine varieties. The variety 
saccharatus, or Chinese sugar grass, yields about 13 per cent of sugar, and all furnish 
fodder of more or less value for farm stock. In Africa alcoholic drinks are prepared 
from the grains, and useful coloring pigments are contained in the fruiting glumes. 

While this is not, strickly speaking, a fiber plant, it yields a brush material and is 
therefore included in this list. The statements which follow are extracted from Cir- 
cular No. 28, Office of Experiment Stations, United States Department Agriculture: 

Broom corn, as is well known, resembles sorghum in appearance, both plants being 
varieties of the same species. Broom corn usually grows 8 to 12 feet high, though 
the dwarf variety attains only half that height. The chief economic difference 
between broom corn and other varieties of sorghum consists in the greater length, 
strength, and straightness of the fine stems composing the head, or panicle, and sup- 
porting the seeds. The longer, straighter, and tougher these stems or straws and 
the greener their color after curing, the higher the price the product commands. 
The different varieties of broom corn afford dissimlar products. The dwarf variety 
produces the short brush used in the manufacture of small brooms and whisks. It 
is somewhat difficult to harvest and is cultivated only to a limited extent. Of the 
large varieties the Evergreen, known also as the Missouri or Tennessee Evergreen, 
has given general satisfaction. The Mohawk is regarded as earlier, but as affording 
a smaller yield. There is some advantage- in planting more than one variety and at 
several different dates so as to extend through a long season the time of harvesting. 

Culture. — A climate suitable for Indian corn is also adapted to the growth of the 
broom-corn plant. Dry weather at harvesting time is a favorable climatic condi- 
tion. A well-drained, rich, sandy or gravelly loam soil such as will produce a heavy 



60 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

yield of Indian torn, and is as free as possible from "weeds, is best for broom corn. If 
the soil is not fertile, it should be liberally manured. The seed can be planted almost 
as early as corn. Only mature seed should be used, and it may be planted in hills 
or drills, although drill culture is generally recommended. The rows should be 3 to 
4 feet apart, and sufficient seed should be planted to insure three to five stalks every 
15 or 18 inches in the row; or the seed may be drilled thinly so as to leave one stalk 
every 3 or 4 inches. The cultivation of broom corn is similar to that given to corn 
or sorghum. The early growth of the plant is slow, hence the need of prompt and 
frequent shallow cultivation to keep the weeds in subjection and to maintain a thin 
layer of loose soil on the surface. 

Harvesting. — The chief difficulty encountered by the novice in broom-corn cul- 
ture is in determining when to harvest the brush. Even experienced growers are 
not unanimous on this point, some cutting the heads while in blossom, and others 
harvesting later so as to obtain better developed seeds possessing considerable nutri- 
tive value. The time geuerally preferred is just after the fall of the so-called 
"blossom 7 ' (anthers). A common custom with tall varieties at time of harvesting 
is to bend down the stalks of two rows diagonally toward each other in such man- 
ner that the bent parts support each other in a nearly horizoutal position. The 
stalks of one row cross diagonally those of the other and form a platform or " table." 
The break, or rather the sharp bend, in the stalk is made about 2J or 3 feet above the 
ground. The brush borne on one row projects over and beyond the other row iu a 
position convenient for the cutter, who follows immediately. The heads with 5 
inches of stalk are laid on the table, or platform, until they can be removed to a dry- 
ing shed. Cutting while the plants are wet with dew or rain should be avoided. 
The brush of the dwarf variety is pulled out, not cut. If the season is dry as the 
corn approaches maturity the brush remains straight, but if the weather is hot and 
damp at this period the straws are likely to bend and to form crooked brush. In 
harvesting and in curing great pains are taken to keep the brush straight. Crooked 
or tangled brush is carefully sorted out. From the field the brush is taken to the 
scrapers, which remove the seed. Large growers of broom corn employ special 
scraping machines, consisting of one or two cylinders provided with iron teeth and 
usually driven by horsepower. The most complete scrapers are provided with an 
automatic feeding arrangement. With cheaper machines the operator holds the 
seed end of a handful of brush against the cylinders until the seeds are removed. 
It is stated that the ordinary threshing machine, with concave removed, has been 
used in a similar manner. For small quantities of brush a long-toothed currycomb, 
or a wooden comb made by sawing teeth in a plank has been used. The brash 
should be cured in the shade, as exposure to sun or moisture injures its color and 
strength. Free circulation of air is necessary in this process. Hence, when large 
quantities are to be cured special curing houses thoroughly ventilated and provided 
with racks made of narrow planks and laths are constructed. On these racks layers 
of brush 3 inches thick are laid. Curing is continued until the brush will not heat 
when bulked or baled. When curing the brush is pressed into bales, usually 46 by 
30 by 24 inches and weighing about 300 pounds. The butts are placed evenly at the 
ends of the bale, and the pieces of "brush " lap in the middle. 

FOREIGN USES. — The Venetian whisks of Italy are made from this species, which 
is employed in all civilized countries for similar use, and for the manufacture of 
brooms and brushes. 

Andropogon squarrosus. The Ousous, Knus Khtjs, ob Koosa. 
Endogen. Graminece. Perennial grass, * to 10 feet. 
Common and native names. — Vetivert, Kueh-kush, Bene; Khas (Hind, and 

1'ers. i ; I'sir (Arab.); Miyamore (Barm.), etc. 
Native of India. Very common in many portions of India, growing in low, moist. 

rich soil, usually along the water courses, but found on the plains of northwest 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 61 

India. Also found in the West Indies and Brazil, growing on river banks and in the 
marshes. It was introduced into Louisiana many years ago, and is now spontaneous 
in some of the lower parts of that State. Cultivated successfully at Knoxyille, Tenn., 
where the fragrance of the rhizomes and roots was developed to a marked degree, 
but the plants did not bloom. 

Structural Fiber. — This species is interesting as supplying the material for the 
sweet-scented, fibrous fans from India, which proved one of the novelties of the Chi- 
cago Exposition of 1893. These fans are made from the roots, which are also employed 
for making the fragrant screens known as tatties, which when wet are hung before 
the open windows and doors of houses to cool the atmosphere. The Kew Mus. col- 
lection contains a series of specimens of fans, baskets, and hand screens made from 
these roots. "Also used for awnings and as covers for palanquins and fans, and 
brushes used by weavers in arranging the thread of the web are made from either the 
roots or the whole plant. The roots laid among clothing impart a pleasing fra- 
grance to the garments and are said to keep them free from insects. The roots are 
an article of commerce sold by druggists. In European drug stores the roots are 
known as Radix anatheri or Radix vetirerice, a stimulant or antiseptic. They yield a 
perfume known as vetivert, or, in India, itar." (F. Lamson-Scribner.) This grass is 
used as thatching material in India. 

A. involutus, another Indian species, was formerly supposed to produce the " Bha- 
bar" grass, which, however, is the product of an Ischcemum. A. nardus is the Citro- 
nella of India, the stems of which have been proposed as a useful 'paper product. 
Die. Ec. Prod. Ind. A. condensatus is an Argentine species, noted as useful for its fiber. 
Other fiber species are A. tenuis and A. sericeus, in South Australia. The natives of 
Kaviroudo, British Central Africa, make use of the material of a species of Andro- 
pogon for grass ropes with which their cattle are tethered. There are a number of 
species of the genus in the United States, but none has been reported as a fiber mate- 
rial other than cultivated broom corn. 

* Specimens of fans, W. C. E., 1893, Indian section; grass and fiber, U. S. Nat. Herb, 
and Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Anjan (Hind.). See HardwicMa. 

Anoda-gaha (OeyL). Abutilon indicum. 

Anodendron paniculatum. 

Exogen. Apocynacew. A giant climber. 
An Indian species of plant also found in Ceylon. The stems are said to yield a 
very strong, fine fiber much esteemed in Ceylon for native uses, known as dul. 

Anoer (Malay). Cocos nucifera. 
Anona squamosa. Sour-sop. 

Exogen. Anonacew. Small trees or shrubs. 

There are several species of the genus, found in America,.Africa, and Asia. They 
are chiefly prized for their fruit, though a fibrous substance is yielded by the bark, 
which has been utilized in some countries. Savorgnan states that in Guadaloupe 
the fiber has been employed for cordage. A. reticulata, the true custard apple of the 
West Indies, a fiber said to have been extracted from the young twigs which is better 
than that from the above species. A. palustris, Brazil, which is known as araticu- 
cortica, supplies the natives of Para with a useful fiber. Species of Anona of Vene- 
zuela, known locally as anoncillo and manirito, find a place in the list of useful fibers 
of that country. Several of the species named above are found in India, A. reticulata 
being prized as yielding dye and tanning material, fiber, food, medicine, and timber. 
See Diet. Ec. Prod. Ind., Vol. I, p. 258, and Cat. Venez. Expos., 1883, by Dr. Ernst, 
The State of Para, Braz. Com. W. C. E., 1893. 

* Specimens of A. muricata. — Herb. Col. Univ., N. Y. 



62 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Anoncillo (Venez.). Anona spp. 

Anthistiria arundinacea. 

Endogen. Gramineos. A grass. 

This species is found in northern India, where, according to Watt, the culms yield a 

fiher used for cordage and for the sacrificial striugs used by the Hindoos. The 

leaves are also employed as a thatching material. Another species, the kangaroo 

grass of Australia (A. australis), is given in Bernardin's list of fiber-producing plants. 

Anthurium acaule. 

Belongs to the Arum family. Native of tropical America. " The small, broad leaves 
are used as a thatch material by the Indians of British Guiana, strung together many 
on a stick" (E. F. im Thvrn). 

Antiaris toxicaria. The Upas Tree. 

Exogen. Moracece. Large evergreen tree. 

By some authors A. toxicaria and A. innoxia (syn. A. saccidora), the Travaiicore 
sacking trees, are regarded as one species. Both abound in portions of India, the 
former on the Western Ghats and in Ceylon, the latter in Burma. The stripped bark 
is soaked in water and beaten, producing a white fibrous cloth, employed by the 
natives. The fiber is also used for native cordage, matting, and sacking. Both 
clothing and natural sacks are formed from the bark. An account of this rude 
manufacture is given in Die. Ec. Prod. Ind., Vol. I, p. 268, as follows: " Small 
branches are made into legs of trousers and arms of coats, the larger ones forming 
the bodies of the garments. * * * In making sacks, sometimes a disk of the wood 
is left attached to the fiber to form the bottom of the sack. At other times the bark 
is peeled off, and after being beaten in water and dried the top and bottom are sewed 
up, forming the sack." 

* Specimens. — Bot. Mus. Harv. Univ. 

Antidesma alexiteria. 

A species of Euphoroiacece, found in India, the leaves of which are an antidote for 
snake bites. Its fruits are edible, and cords are made from the fiber of the bark. 

Antirrhinum majus. Common Snapdragon. 

The species of this genus of Scropliulariacem are found in southern Europe and in 
California. A. majus is common in Italy, where it is known as Lino dei Muri, Bocca 
de leone, etc. It grows in walls and is cultivated in gardens. "The fiber of the stem 
is tenacious and can be used as a textile 1 ' (Manual Hoepli). 

Apeiba tibourbou. 

Exogen. Tiliacece. A tree. 
This species abounds in many South American countries, the fiber being in the 
form of a thin ribbon of coarse bast, similar to that produced from the Tilias, and 
capable of rude weaving into mats and similar manufactures. Not an important 
fiber, though given by Dr. Ernst in the list of Venezuelan fibers. Known in Vene- 
zuela as Erizo. Bernardin mentions A. nhnifolia as one of the fiber trees of Trinidad. 
A. petoumo, known as Cortega in Panama, is used for cordage, its fiber being white. 
tough, and strong. Savorgnan mentions A. glabra as a fiber species found in Guiana. 
Bernardin catalogues two other species as fiber producing, A. aspera and J. ulmifolia. 

Apocynum cannabinum. Indian Hemp. 

Exogen. Apocynacece. A perennial herb. 

Abounds throughout the western portion of the United States. Specimens of 
fiber have been received from Minnesota. Nebraska, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. 

Bast Fiber.— Easily separated from the stalk, and when cleaned is quite fine, 
long, and tenacious. In color it is light cinnamon as usually seen, though finely 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



63 



prepared specimens are creamy white and remarkably fine and soft; will rank with 
Asclepias for strength, and is readily obtained, as the stems are long, straight, 
smooth, and slender. Although paper has not been made of it, it could doubtless 
be utilized for the purpose. It is principally employed by the North American 
Indians, who manufacture from it in rude fashion bags, mats, small ornamental 
baskets, belts, twine, and other cordage, fishing lines, and nets. Among fine speci- 
mens received is a fish line, such as is used by the Pai Utes at the Walker River 
Reservation in Nevada. 




^i^ 



Fig. 20. — The Indian hemp plant, Apocynum cannabinum. 



The plant belongs to the Dogbane family, having upright branching stems 4 or 5 
feet in length with opposite leaves, and a tough, reddish bark. Spon mentions the 
species, but gives it the common name " Colorado hemp," which does not apply to 
this species, but to Sesbania macrocarpa. He states that " it yields a fine, white, 
strong fiber." The naturally prepared fiber of the specimens of A. cannabinum that 
have come under the notice of the author are always a dark cinnamon color and 
not white, and it is probable that the two species have been confounded. (Fig. 20.) 



64 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

In the Russian exhibit at the Columbian Exhibition of 1893 was shown a beautiful 
example of Ajpocynum liber, about 2.1 feet in length, and dark salmon in color, which 
it was claimed is used commercially in Russia to a limited extent. Bernardin 
places A. cannabinum in his list as produced in Virginia, and states that the fiber ia 
adapted to cordage and fabrics. "A. canadense" the same author designates as 
"Canadian hemp." 

There are several foreign species, as A. syriacum (Spon'sEnc), A. venetum, etc., which 
abound in southern Siberia, Turkestan, Transcaucasus, and on the Adriatic, and 
that produce fiber employed for cordage, fishing nets, lines, and other uses. Spun 
states that in some districts where the fiber is more carefully prepared it is manu- 
factured into textiles. "It is sejmratecl by a short retting, is strong and elastic, 
easily divisible, bleaches and dyes well, and has a length of 6 to 12 feet." A. venetum 
is difficult of extraction. A. androscemifolium probably affords as good a liber as A. 
cannabinum. but is not so available on account of the more spreading or branching 
habit of the plant. 

* Specimens of A. cannabinum. — U. S. Nat. Mus. ; Field Col. Mus.; and Mns. U. S. 
Dept. Ag. 

Aralia papyrifera. Bice Paper Plant. See Fatsia pap yr if era. 

Araticu cortica (Braz.). See Anona. 

Arbol del Pan (Peru). Artocarpus incisa. 

Arcidiavolo (It.)- Celtis australis. 

Araujia sericifera. 

An asclepiadaceous plant of Brazil growing in uncultivated fields, blooming in 
the winter months. It is known as Paina de campo, and also Cipo Sapo. Lofgren 
states that it is found in Sao Paulo, where its cotton is used in the same manner as 
that from species of Bombax. 

Arctium lappa. The Common Burdock. 

Exogen. Composite?. Coarse herb. 

This familiar plant and troublesome weed, which is said to be of no utility in the 
vegetable economy, was several years ago the subject of experiment by Mr. W. W. 
Ball, of Lasalle, 111., who hoped to produce at low cost a fiber material suitable for 
binding twine. It was claimed that the plants could be produced in quantity in 
new or waste land, and could be cut, crushed with a cane mill, and the bast steeped 
in pools of water at small cost, the fiber to be stripped by children, and a lengthy 
correspondence followed. 

Fiber. — Upon examination of the many specimens of stalks and samples of the 
"fiber," submitted both straight and in the form of "tow," the filaments were found 
to be harsh and wiry, very brittle, and possessing little strength. A small sample, 
extra treated, yellowish in color, very soft and pliant to the touch, and absolutely 
worthless as to strength, it was suggested could be employed as paper stock, but the 
entire series showed no possibilities in the textile economy. 

Fibrous plants of this class have no value in the industrial economy, the fibrous 
material contained in their bast being loo inferior ever to be used in manufacture 
where so many other better fibers are obtainable that may be produced possibly at 
less cost. 

Specimens. — Field Col. Mus. ; Mus. U. S. 1 >ept. Ag. 

Arctium minus. 

This is a European species, but has been reported from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Brazil- 
ian name, Carapicho do grande. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



65 



This plant could certainly be utilized industrially, having an excellent fiber 
beneath the bark which often attains a length of 1 meter without a break. It grows 
in the suburbs of towns, and flowers in the summer months. (Alberto Lbfgren.) 

Areca catechu. Betel-nut Palm. 

Endogen. Palmw. Palm, 80 feet. 
Native of Cochin China, Malayan Peninsula, etc. Cultivated throughout trop- 
ical India, growing near the seashore and not above 3,000 feet elevation. 
Fiber — While grown chiefly for its nuts, " the flower sheath is made into skull 




Fig. 21.— Young Betel-nut palm, Areca catechu. 

caps, small umbrellas, and dishes ; and the coarser leaf sheath is made into cups, 
plates, and bags for holding plantains, sweetmeats-, and fish" (Bombay Gazetteer). 
The flower spathe and the fibrous pericarp from the nut is adapted to paper making. 
In some parts of Ceylon the chief vessels used for carrying water are made from 
the leaves of this graceful palm, which, being of leather-like consistency, are easily 
converted into strong and durable water buckets, in the making of which the 
natives show great ingenuity. Fig. 21 is a greenhouse plant of this species. 
12247— No. 9 5 



GG 



USEFUL FIBER TLAXTS OF THE WORLD. 



-' ,-& 



Arenga saccharifera. Sago Palm of Malacca. 

Endogen. Palmer. Palm, upward of 40 feet. 

Malayan name, G-omuti ; known in Burma as toung-ong. This is also a Malayan 
species, generally cultivated in India, the Asiatic islands, Java, Snlu Archi- 
pelago, and Celebes. (See fig. 22.) 
Structural Fiber. — The gomuti fiber, Ejoo or Eju of the Malays. The product 
is a horse-hair like substance found at the base of the leaves, which is useful for the 
manufacture of cables, ropes, brush making, and upholstery. '•'Within the sheaths 
is found a layer of reticulated fibers, which is said to be in great demand in China, 
being applied, like oakum, in calking the seams of ships" (Watt). Roxburgh 
states that the black fibers of the leaf stalks are adapted 
for cables and ropes intended to long resist wet. Sim- 
monds regards the Ejoo fiber as superior in durability, 
quality, and cheapness to cocoanut fiber, on account of its 
resistance to the action of water. The fiber placed in the 
bottom of a vessel is useful for filtering water of its me- 
chanical impurities. Royle states that a coarse line of 
Ejoo, tested for its strength, stood a strain of 85 pounds, 
while a similar line of coir broke with 75 pounds. The 
same author states that the bow anchor of a merchant 
ship, buried in the sands of the Hoogly, was raised by 
means of an Ejoo cable after three Russian cables had 
given way in previous attempts. The fiber is equally 
elastic with coir, floats on the water, and is more service- 
able than coir. Sandals are made from the leaf sheath. 



Aristida adscensionis. Broomstick Grass. 

Endogen. Gramineos. A broom grass. 
From the root fibers of this grass, which is common in 
northwest India, a material is obtained for the manufac- 
ture of weavers' brushes. Fine specimens of the product 
were shown in the Indian Court at Chicago, W. C. E., 1893, 
though little information could be secured concerning them. 
"The Telinga paper makers construct their frames from 
the culms; it also serves to make brooms" (Watt). Used 
for tatties, or hot-weather screens, in India in the same 
manner as the Cuscus roots (Andropogon) are employed. 
The material is spread thinly over bamboo frames. See 
Die. Ec. Prod. Ind., Vol. I, p. 312. The Indian Agricul- 
turist for February 25, 1893, contains a full account of this 
grass and the manner of collecting it for use in making 
weavers' brushes. The Bot. Mus. Harv. Univ. shows 
Mexican brooms made from the rigid culms of A. appressa. 




Fig. 22.— Leaf of the Sago 
Palm of Malacca, Arenga 
saccharifera. 



Aristotelia macqui. 

Exogen. Tiliaceae. A shrub or small tree. 



Native of Chile. The wood of this tree is considered to be the most sonorous of all 
in the vegetable kingdom ; elegant and resonant guitars are made from it, and from 
the bark are constructed strings for the same. The acid berries of this plant are 
used in China as a remedy for malignant fever. In Chile they are used to make a 
sort of wine. (Manual Hoepli. ) I can find no other reference to the use of this plant 
for fiber. 

Arnotto or Annato plant. See Bixa orelUma. 
Aromatic sumac. Bhm trilobata. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



67 



Aroosha or Arusha (Ind.). See Callicarpa carta. 
Arrowroot plant (see Maranta). 
Artabotrys spp. 

Exogens. Anonacece. 
Natives of India and Indian Archipelago; shrubs or climbing plants. Savorgnan 
mentions A. zeylanicus, the fiber of which — the color of iron rust — is used in tackle 
for marine purposes, and A. suaveolens, the twigs of which are used by the natives 
of the Malaysian Archipelago for cords. The species is cultivated in greenhouses. 
A. odoratissimiis is a scandent shrub, cultivated in India and eastern countries. It 
is not mentioned as a fiber plant by Dr. Watt, but is included in list of fibers, Rept. 
Flax and Hemp Com., 1863. The fiber is said to be of good length. 

Artemisia moxa. 

Exogen. Composite. Small shrubs. 

The wormwoods are widely distributed over the temperate regions of the two 
hemispheres. In Texas, New Mexico, and other regions of the "great West" entire 
tracts are covered by species of Artemisia. A. absinthium is of well-known economic 
value. 

Fiber. — On the authority of Savorgnan the down or cottony substance produced, 
as a surface fiber, by A. moxa, is used as an absorbent by Chinese and Japanese phy- 
sicians. He also mentions A. vulgaris, found in stony places and among the gravelly 
soil of water courses (presumably in Italy), known as Canapaccia, the bark of which 
is filamentous and gives a material similar to hemp. A common species of temperate 
Europe. 

Artificial Silk. 

One of the interesting exhibits in Machinery Hall, at the Paris Exposition of 1889, 
was that illustrating the process of drawing out the filmy thread of artificial silk 
and reeling it into skeins of wonderful brilliancy and finish, this 
process being the invention of Count M. de Chardonnet. The process 
is intended to produce from pure cellulose, as a starting point, an 
artificial substance resembling as far as possible in form, appearance, 
and in adaptability to the uses of manufacture, the animal substance 
spun from the cocoons of Bombyx mori (or other species) and known 
as silk. The various kinds of cellulose can be employed to pro- 
duce the substance out of which the silk is drawn, on condition that 
they are pure and not liable to alteration by reagents. The inventor 
in his own experiments has given his attention principally to cotton 
and the pulp of soft woods sulphureted. 

With these materials there is formed a pure octonitric cellulose, 
dissolved in the proportion of 6.5 per 100 in a mixiure of 38 parts 
ether and 42 parts alcohol. This collodion is inclosed in a reservoir 
of tinned copper where an air pump keeps a pressure of several 
atmospheres, which is held down by a ramp, upon which are fixed 
glass tubes terminating in a capillary section A. A second tube, B, 
envelops each of the first and receives an excess of water by the 
tubulure C. This water, held by an india-rubber pipe, D, falls again around B. 
The collodion driven through the orifice A is immediately solidified at the surface 
in contact with the water, and falls with this water in thread form around B, and 
there pincers, which move automatically, take up the thread and carry it over the 
reels, which are turning above. The threads coming from the neighboring jets are 
united, forming a combined thread like raw silk. Each jet is furnished with a 
device for regulating the size of the thread. In manufacturing this thread the jets 
and bobbins are inclosed in a glass case to prevent the loss of the dissolvent, and in 




Fig. 23. —Device 
for the manu- 
facture of ar- 
tificial silk. 



68 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

which an even quantity of air circulates, heing constantly reheated at the entrance 
of the machine (to dry the threads) and cooled again at the exit (to collect the vapor). 
The skeins arc formed like those from the silk cocoons. {Count de Chardonnet.) 

Starting with paper pulp, which is pure cellulose, this is nitrated, as has heen 
shown, transforming it into pyroxyline or gun cotton. It is this collodion that is 
spun, and the "silk" is naturally inflammable to a high degree, and consequently in 
this form would be a decidedly undesirable form of fabric to use for any purpose. 
It is necessary to denitrify the silk, therefore, before the processes of spinning and 
subsequent manufacture. The various pyroxylines reduced in tepid baths lose their 
nitric acid. Pure water is also effective, though the reaction is even more complete 
in diluted nitric acid. The nitric acid of the cellulose is removed by a dissolution 
which takes place more or less quickly in proportion as the bath is warm and con- 
centrated; but it can be pushed further in proportion as the bath is cooler and more 
diluted. The elasticity of the artificial silk is claimed to be equal to the natural 
silk of animal origin. The elongation before rupture is from 15 to 25 per cent. "The 
real elasticity is about 4 to 5 per cent." A square millimeter of artificial silk will 
stand a breaking strain of 25 to 35 kilograms. Raw silk will break at 30 to 45 kilo- 
grams. In density, artificial silk rates at about 1.49, coming between that of natural 
raw silk at 1.66 and natural boiled silk at (about) 1.43. In luster and brilliancy it 
is said to surpass the natural article. Examined under the microscope in section, 
the filament of artificial silk has the appearance of a grooved cylinder. It is claimed 
that this silk can be produced for 15 to 20 francs per kilogram, or about $1.40 to $1.80 
per pound, natural silk costing from three to four times as much. The Textile World, 
Boston Mass., for June 1897, publishes recent interesting statements on this subject. 

Artocarpus incisa. Breadfruit Tree. 

Exogen. Moracew. 

This species is the well-known breadfruit tree of the South Sea Islands. A caout- 
chouc is derived from the tree which is used as a glue and for calking the canoes of 
the islanders. Known in Peru as the Arbol del Pan, which means breadfruit tree. 
The species of this genus are found in India and the East Indies, New Guinea, Poly- 
nesia, New Zealand, and the Pacific islands. 

Fiber. — "The bark yields a fiber used by the Indians of Loreto for making cloth- 
ing" (A. Dorca). "The bark of the young branches is utilized for clothing in the 
more southern islands of Malaysia" (Savorgnan). A. integrifolia, the jackfruit tree, 
yields a fiber, samples of which were sent to the Paris Exposition from India. The 
timber is much used for making furniture and resembles mahogany. A. lakoocha 
also yields a fiber, said to be employed for cordage. 

Arum spp. 

A genus of Aracew, the species of which are found in many parts of the world. 

Fiber. — 1 have never seen the fiber of any species, but Bernardiu states that fiber 
has been extracted from A. macrorrhizon (now Alocasia macrorrhiza) and from A. 
funiculaceum (species not in the Index Kewensis). Both are included in the Flax 
and Hemp Commission list, the first- named fiber measuring 19 feet, and the second, 
" aerial root, 10^ to 14| feet; petiole, 2 feet 6 inches." 

Arundinaria falcata. Himalayan Bamboo. 

Endogen. Graminece. Cane-like grass, 6 to 10 feet. 
Western Himalayas, above 4,000 feet elevation, but descending to the plains in the 
eastern. "The leaves are used for roofing and baskets" (Watt). The Kew Mas. 
exhibits a rough mat made from the split stems in India. See also Jiambttsa and 
Dendrocalamus for other forms of bamboos. The Harvard University botanical col- 
lection contains some examples of Japanese fans from A. japonica. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



69 



Arundinaria gigantea. Cane. 

Endogen. Graminece. Perennial, 10 to 30 feet. 

Cane of the Southern swamps. (See fig. 21.) 

"A valuable supplement to the winter pastures. Thousands of animals have 
almost no other food. The fodder furnished, however, does little more thau sustain 
life, and is of no value for fattening or for milch cows. Attempts made to cultivate 
this grass have not been successful. The plant blooms but once, and when the seeds 
mature the cane dies. The canes are used for many purposes, such as fishing rods, 
scaffolds for drying cotton, splints for baskets, mats, etc/' (F. Lamson-Scribner.) 

Two species are recognized — the above, or large cane, and A. iecta, the small cane, 
which is the more important as a fiber plant. See the next title. 



Arundinaria tecta. Lesser Cane. 

"This is regarded by some as only a variety of the cane mentioned above, but it 
is of smaller growth, rarely exceeding 10 feet in height; it extends as far north as 
Maryland. Its woody stems and perennial 
leafage are like those of A. gigantea, afford- 
ing similar fodder to cattle upon the winter 
ranges/' (F. Lamson-Scribner.) 

Structural Fiber. — Coarse, but very 
strong, the length depending upon the dis- 
tance between the joints of the cane. As 
prepared, it is a yellowish ochre in color. Is 
suitable for coarse cordage, such as binding- 
twine, and for paper manufacture. 

Economic Considerations.— The employ- 
ment of southern cane as a fiber substance 
dates back to about 1870, when an effort was 
made to produce a paper material from the 
canes by aprocess known as "steam blowing.'' 
In reducing the cane to this fibrous state, 
tightly compressed bundles of the " bamboo " 
were placed in steam cylinders or guns 24 
feet long aud 12 inches in diameter, and there 
subjected to the action of steam at a pressure 
of about 170 pounds to the square inch for 
about ten minutes. The gums and glutinous 
matters which held the fibers together were 

thereby dissolved or softened, and while in that state the cane was blown into the 
air by the force of the steam in the gun, and the fibers separated by the expansion of 
steam among them. The papers manufactured from the steam-blown fiber were 
different grades of wrapping paper, book, and "news," some of the samples being 
quite white and of good quality. The industry never became permanent, however. 
See Ann. Rept. U. S. Dep. Ag., 1879, p. 563. 

Recently another form of cane fiber has been produced from this species, which 
promises to become an industry, as the fiber is prepared at such low cost that it will 
be able to compete with the better fibers for certain purposes. Beautiful samples 
of the straight and tangled fiber were exhibited with the canes in the collection of 
the Office of Fiber Investigations in the United States Government exhibit at Chi- 
cago. Tests of the fiber made by the author show that it will stand a breaking 
strain about equal to sisal hemp and approaching to that of manila hemp. The 
process is patented. 

Dr. Havard makes the statement that the cane of the Southern States furnishes 
the principal basket material of the remnants of the Cherokees, Choctaws, Creeks, 




Fig. 24. — Cane. Arundinaria gigantea. 



70 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Chickasaws, and Seniinoles. The Ckoctaws especially excel in its use, and their 
little baskets, variously colored, are offered for sale in several Southern cities. 
* Specimens. — Field Col. Mus. ; Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Arundo donax. 
Endogen. GramineaB. Tall grass or reed. 

A widely distributed species, supposed to be the scriptural "reed." The plant 
grows to a height of 10 feet in England, though much taller in the south of Europe. 

Uses. — The canes being long, straight, and light, make admirable fishing rods and 
excellent arrows; the latter quality being of great importance to the warlike Jews 
after they began to practice archery with effect. See also Phragmites communis, an 
allied species. A. karka is mentioned by Liotard as one of the fiber-producing 
plants of the Province of Sindh, in India. See page 14, Introduction. 

Arvore de Paina (Braz.). See Ghorisia speciosa. 

Asa (Jap.). See Cannabis sativa. 

Asclepias syriaca. Common Milkweed, or Sixkweed, of the 
United States. 

Syn. A. cornuti. 

Exogen. Aselepiadacece. Perennial shrub. 

Abounds in Canada, grows over a wide section of our own country, and is well 
known in portions of South America and in the Old World. The culture of the plant 
is said to be attended with little difficulty, as it generally thrives on poor soil and is 
a perennial. It grows from either the roots or seed, so would be easily propagated 
if desirable to cultivate it. Probably the commonest and best known Bpecies of 
milkweed or "silkweed" growing in the United States. 

Fiber. — The only portion of the plant of which practical use can be made is the 
bast, which furnishes quite a tine, long, glossy fiber that is strong and durable. 
Early authorities have given it a place between flax and hemp, and the yield has 
been claimed about equal to the latter. Dr. Schaeffer, as far back as the fifties, 
made comparisons of the two fibers in Kentucky, and his conclusions were most 
favorable to the Asclepias liber. The native fiber was taken in winter from the 
decayed stalks as they stood in the ground where they grew without culture, while 
the hemp had not only been cultivated but treated afterwards with the usual care. 
The liber of the milkweed was nearly, it" not quite, as strong as that of the hemp, but 
apparently finer and more glossy, while the quantity from a single stalk of each was 
nearly the same. 

Among specimens of the fiber shown in the Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. are some tint' exam- 
ples from Brazil, which have been most carefully prepared, showing that the value 
of the plant has been recognized in that country, though there are no records of its 
use in manufacture. According to one of the old authorities, "an early knowledge 
of the fiber of silkweed caused its introduction into Europe, where it has fully become 
a cultivated plant, while in its own country but little is kuown of its true value." 
Dr. Masters, an European authority, states that "its excellent fiber is woven into 
muslin, and in some parts of India is made into paper." From the Flax and Hemp 
Commission of 1863 the Department received small pieces of Aschpias cloth mixed 
with one-third cotton. The bast forms a good paper material. 

Surface Fiber. — While the stalks yield a good fiber, the pods or seed vessels pro- 
duce a mass of silk-like filaments, adhering to the seed, resembling thistle down, and 
frequently called vegetal de silk. Experiments in this country have shown that the 
substance has no value beyond a mere upholstery material, or for use as wadding, 
and for stuffing pillows. Spon makes the statement that the material is used for 
stuffing beds in this country, and reference is made to the manufacture of fabrics 
from it in Russia and Prance. A French firm has used it by mixing 20 per cent of 
the "down" with bO per cent of wool, the fabric being called "silver cloth." The 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 71 

substance could not be used alone, as the cells are so smooth that they have no felt- 
ing property, and therefore will not hold together and can not be spun. They 
possess little strength, aud can only be considered as silky hairs, and not as fiber. 

In my notes made at Kew I find reference to samples of muslin made from a species 
of Asclepias from Syria. There was also a very beautiful and delicate fabric in colors. 
A. syri'aca is referred to by Royle, who states that it is a native of Syria and culti- 
vated as far north as Upper Silesia. "The plants thrive luxuriantly in light soil, 
but flourish on any poor land. The fibers of the stem, prepared in the same man- 
ner as those of hemp, furnish a very long fine thread of glossy whiteness." The Syrian 
species, doubtless introduced from the New World, is the common milkweed of the 
United States. John Robinson, Museum, Peabody Academy of Science, Salem, 
informs me that as early as 1862 Miss Margaret Gerrish, of that city, spun and 
wrought from the fiber of A. syrlaca purses, workbags, socks, and skeins of thread, 
which were dyed in many colors. 

*S2)ecimens — Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Asclepias curassavica. Wild Ipecacuanha. 

This species is found in the southern United States, Mexico, West Indies, and por- 
tions of South America, as Venezuela. Common in Yucatan, cucliilixiu being the 
Maya name. The plant is also found in India, having been introduced from South 
America, though it is not mentioned in any list of Indian fiber plants. 

Surface Fiber. — While the stalks produce a bast, the only mention of the plant 
as a textile is in regard to its yielding " silk cotton." Dr. Havard states that the 
seed hairs of this species are claimed to be stronger than those of other species that 
have been considered. The Kew Mus. has a collar made from the fiber. The eco- 
nomic value of the plant in the West Indies is its employment in pharmacy. 

Asclepias fruticosa. 

The down of this species is used in Italy to a small extent as wadding. The plants 
only thrive in favorable situations. The plant is known as Albero delta seta, or 
silk tree. 

Asclepias incarnata. The Swamp Milkweed. 

This species, according to Gray, abounds from Maine to Minnesota and southward 
to Louisiana, being found as far south as the Carolinas on the Atlantic coast. A 
variety, pulchra, having hairy stems, has almost as wide a northerly distribution, 
and is also found in North Carolina. 

Bast Fiber. — Light gray to white in color, according to preparation, specimens 
from the old stalks in the field resembling dew-retted flax in appearance. The fiber is 
finer than hemp as usually prepared, soft and glossy, possessing greater strength than 
the majority of bast fibers of wild growth in the United States. Useful for all pur- 
poses to which hemp maybe applied. " Binder twine from this species stood a 
breaking test of 95 to 125 pounds" (JR. J. Sail). 

Economic considerations. — In 1890 this plant attracted attention in Minnesota 
as worthy of cultivation, and a quantity of the fiber from wild plants was secured 
and manufactured into binding twine for examination and experiment. While no 
better than common hemp, it might pay to cultivate the plaut for its fiber, but as 
hemp culture is an established thing, and hemp is also found growing wild (escaped 
from cultivation) in many localities where A. incarnata abounds, there would be no 
special advantage in its cultivation. 

"It can be produced on overflowed land where no other cultivated plants will 
grow and yield double the fiber that flax will produce. Such lands may be described 
as bottom lands subject to overflow, of which Minnesota has thousands of acres. The 
use of such tracts would avoid drawing upon our grain lands. The plant will pro- 
duce as much fiber as a crop of hemp and with less labor. It grows as far north as the 
forty-sixth parallel, and I incline to the opinion that cultivation will carry it up to 



72 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



■~<;V 



the British line and perhaps beyond. It blossoms in August, and the fiber does not 
fully develop until nearly or quite ripe, in September." (A. E. Ball.) 

"A. incarnata flourishes in low, moist grounds and by slow running streams, grow- 
ing annually from a perennial root some 5 to 7 feet high. It grows in clumps or 
stools, starting as soou as frosts leave, and seems to assert its position successfully 
with other shrubbery and weeds. In many respects the plant seems to resemble the 

ramie ; the liber is soft and 
silky until the pi ant is quite 
mature, and rather difficult 
of handling by any present 
known process, but from 
experiments already made 
it promises to ' equal the 
ramie in fineness and value. 
The plant may be propa- 
gated by seed, but the root 
may be divided into from 
five to ten separate plant 
hills and produce stalks the 
same season. It should 
have an abundance of wa- 
ter to draw from, although 
plants 4 feet high have been 
noticed growing upon up- 
lands, but unless set thick- 
ly together the plant is 
shorter and more bushy." 
(S. S. Boyce.) (See fig. 25.) 
Undoubtedly A. incarnate 
promises better results than 
any of the indigenous spe- 
cies of bast fibers in the 
United States that have 
been considered. If it will 
thrive upon waste lands 
wbere no other crops will 
grow, it has to that extent 
an advantage over hemp, 
consideriug the strength of 
the fiber as fully equal to 
hemp. Recent cultural ex- 
periments under the direc- 
tion of the Department of 
Agriculture seem to show 
that the plant does not 
the uncultivated state. See 




The Swamp milkweed, Asclepias incarnata. 



thrive on upland, nor do as well in cultivation as 
Rept. Fib. Inv. series, U. S. Dept. Ag., No. 6. 

* Specimens. — Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. ; Field Col. Mus. 

Asclepias verticillata. 

Abounds in New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and contiguous territory, and as far 
eastward as the Mississippi Valley. 

"The fiber is grayish white, very strong, and is used by the Indians of the South- 
west for sewing together the skins for ' rabbit robes/ and also as a tying material 
in the construction of their habitations'' (C. W. Irish >. The soil thrown up to form 
the banks of irrigating ditches is soon covered with this Asclepias. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



73 



Ash (for basket splints). See Fraxinus nigra. 

Asimina triloba. The Pap aw of Temperate United States. 

Exogen. Anonacece. A tree. 

Abounds in eastern middle United States from Michigan to the Gulf. 

Fiber. — Derived from the inner hark, hut now scarcely employed for any purpose. 
" The inner hark stripped from the branches in the early spring is still used by fisher- 
men on the Ohio and other "Western rivers for stringing fish; formerly employed in 
making iish nets" (C. S. Sargent). Dr. Havard states that the inner bark has a 
tough hbrous texture, and in former 
times was commonly used by the Indi- 
ans for withes, strings, nets, etc. 
Savorgnan states that the bast from 
the inner bark of young sprouts is 
very strong and lustrous. 

Assai Palm, of Para. (Braz.). 
Euterpe oleracea. 

Astelia banksii. 

Endogen. Liliacece. A rush. 
This species belongs to a genus of 
rush-like plants found in the islands 
of the southern ocean. The plant is a 
native of New Zealand, and grows to 
a height of 4 feet. "It is rich in fiber 
suitable for ropes, paper," etc. The 
fiber is of a dirty yellow color, the 
"filaments" exceedingly coarse and 
wiry; rather brittle when bent sharp- 
ly, but of considerable strength when 
tested with a lateral strain. The 
* specimen m the collection of the De- 
partment of Agriculture was prepared 
by Dr. Guilfoyle. The leaves of A. 
alpina which grow on the sand hills of 
the coast ©f Tasmania are edible. 

Astrocaryum acaule. The Iu 
Palm. 

Endogen. Palnuu. A palm, 8 to 
10 feet. 

"This palm never has any stem, the 
leaves springing at once from the ground. They are 8 or 10 feet long, slender and 
pinnate. The leaflets are very narrow and drooping, and are disposed in groups of 
three or four, at intervals along the midrib, the separate leaflets standing out in all 
directions." (Wallace.) 

It is stated that this palm grows in the dry Catinga forests of the upper Rio Negro, 
Brazil. The rind of the leafstalks is used by the Indians for making baskets. A. 
ayri, another Brazilian species, is used in the manufacture of coarse articles. The 
fiber is derived from the leaves. 

Astrocaryum murumuru. The Murumueu Palm. 

This is another South American species of palm. It grows "on the tide lands of 
the lower Amazon, and on the margins of the rivers and gapos of the upper Amazon, 
though it is possible that the two may be distinct species." Fig. 26 grows in Para. 




Fig. 26. 



-The Murumuru palm, Astrocaryum murtu- 
muru. 



74 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



The stem is from 8 to 12 feet high, irregularly ringed, and armed with long, scattered 
"black spines. The leaves are terminal and of moderate size, regularly pinnate, the 
leaflets spreading out uniformly in one plane, elongate, acute, with the terminal pair 
shorter and broader. The petioles and sheathing bases are thickly covered with long 
black spines generally directed downward, and often 8 inches long. The spadices 
grow from among the leaves and are simply branched and spiny, erect when in 
flower, but drooping with the fruit. The spathes are elongate, splitting open and 
deciduous. The fruit is of a moderate size, oval, of a yellowish color, and with a 
small quantity of rather juicy eatable pulp covering the seed. (J. B. Wallace.) 

This author also states that the cattle of the upper Amazon eat the fruit, which 
is hard and stony, wandering about for days in the forest to procure it . There is 

scant reference to its fiber. It is 
called the Murdrum in a pamphlet 
^H^ distributed by the Brazilian com- 

mission, W. C. E., 1893, where it is 
stated that its fruit serves for food 
for cattle and the stems of its new 
leaves for braiding hats and making 
baskets. It is also mentioned by 
Orton. 




Astrocaryum tucuma. 
Tecuma Palm. 



The 



In the list of Brazilian fibers pub- 
lished by the Brazilian commission, 
W. C. E., lS93,theJauary (A.jauari) 
and the tueum (A. tucuma) are men- 
tioned as valuable fiber-producing 
plants. From A. tucuma "the fiber 
is extracted for manufacture into 
hats, baskets, ropes, and other useful 
articles."' In Bernardin's list the 
Tucum palm is given as Astrocaryum 
vulgare (which see), found in Guaya- 
quil, Guiana, and Trinidad. In the 
Official Guide of the Kew Mus. the 
Tecuma palm is given as A. tucuma, 
the Tucum palm being A. vulgare. 

Structural Fiber. — Samples of 
the fiber of A. tucuma were exhib- 
ited in the Brazilian collection, 
Phil. Int. Exh., 1876, and presented 
to the United Sates Department of 
Agriculture. 

It was stated that the fiber is obtained from the young leaves and is readily secured, 
as it lies just under the epidermis of the leaf, which is so exceedingly thin that it is 
easily rubbed off, leaving the fiber white and clean. Its strength was claimed to be 
equal to flax. The filaments are so fine that it has received the name of vegetable 
wool. In the specimens received by the Department the fiber had not been cleaned, 
yet in some portions the bundles of filaments were clear and white, showing the 
fiber to the best advantage. This was sufficiently strong for fine weaving, and from 
the ease with which it is separated might he obtained very cheaply. "Its use in 
Brazil is for the manufacture of nets, fish lines, and hammocks." Fig. 27 shows a 
young and an old tree. 

While authorities agree that Tucum is an Astrocarj/um, Bactris setosa is mentioned 
as the Tucum in a volume on the resources of Brazil distributed at the Philadelphia 



Pig. 27. — The Tecuma palm. Astrocarinnu tucuma. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



75 



exhibition of 1876, and Astrocaryum is called the Tucuman. In Bernardin's list 
Bactris is called Tecun. The Kew Mus. Guide names A. aculeatum as the Gri Gri. 
* Specimens. — Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Astrocaryum vulgare. The Tucum Palm. 

This species grows on the dry forest land of the Amazon and Rio Negro. Culti- 
vated by the Indians when not met with in a wild state. (See fig. 28). 

Structural Fiber. — " Tucum thread," derived from the unopened leaves, "is 
used chiefly for bowstrings and fishing nets ; employed also for hammocks, which 
fetch a high figure in Rio Janeiro." By the native method of extraction only about 
2 ounces of fiber can be extracted in a day, even by an expert manipulator. Savorg- 
nan states that the leaves yield a fiber of 
great strength, which is made into cord- 
age, and also furnish material for hats 
known commonly as Accora. 

The only part used is the young unex- 
panded leaves, the cuticle of which, when 
twisted, furnishes cordage of extreme 
fineness, combined with great strength 
and durability. Some of the tribes on the 
upper Amazon are said to make all their 
hammocks of this fiber. Wallace, in his 
Palm Trees of the Amazon, says : The Bra- 
zilians of the Rio Negro and upper Ama- 
zon make very beautiful hammocks of fine 
'tucum' thread, knitted by hand into a 
compact web of so fine a texture as to 
occupy two persons three or fonr months 
in their completion. They then sell at 
about £3 each, and when ornamented 
with the feather-work borders, at double 
that sum. Most of them are sent as pres- 
ents to Rio de Janeiro. 

The fiber is fine, resistant, and durable, 
and the natives employ it in making ropes, 
coarse linen, nets, horse blankets, and es- 
pecially hammocks and strong fish nets, 
for which it is much esteemed. The fiber 
is yellowish white and very elastic. A 
small cord of scarcely 2 millimeters in 
thickness will sustain a weight of 3 kilos. 
And at the end of six hours it will have 
extended in length from 800 millimeters to 
809 millimeters, which is equal to 1.125 
per cent. It is capable of absorbing a 
great quantity of water ; a rope weighing 72 grams after having been submerged 
in water something more than one hour showing an increase of 27.7 per cent. 

* Specimens are preserved in the Bot. Mus. Harv. Univ. 

Atabula (Ind.). Sida rlwmbifolia. 
Atiraukawa (New Zea.). Phormium tenax. 
Attalea funifera. Bahia Piassaba, or Piassava. 

Endogen. Palmw. A palm tree, 30 to 40 feet. (See fig. 29.) 
Widely distributed in the lowlands of Brazil ; common throughout the Province of 
Bahia parallel to the coast from latitude 13° to 18°. A very full account of the fiber 




Fig. 28. — The Tucum palm Astrocaryum vul- 
gare. 



76 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

and methods of gathering it for market appears in the Kew Bulletin for 1889, from 
which the following statements have been largely compiled: 

Structural Fiber. — Obtained from the dilated base of the leaf stalks, which 
separates into a long, coarse fringe, which is collected by the natives by cutting with a 
small ax. The fiber is stiff, wiry, and a bright chocolate in color, and is employed in 
the manufacture of brushes; largely used on street-sweeping machines, particularly 
in London. The natives twist these fibers into coarse cables, which are light and 
durable, and which will float on the water. 

Fiber from young undeveloped plants, called Bananevraa, is bright colored and 
more flexible. The fiber from the fully matured plants, called Cogu< iras, is sepa- 
rated into three qualities — 

(1) Ordinary fiber, which is found wound up among the broken leaves and the 
upper part of the trunk. 

(2) Balloon, formed by the elder fiber which has fallen to the ground round the 
base of the trunk. 

(3) Piassava d'olho, or "eye piassava," which is the latest growth, and is in all 
respects similar to that yielded by the Bananeiras. The latter, on account of its 
flexibility and color, is chiefly used in tying the bales. Its yield is small. 

Collection and preparation. — The palm grows in the neighborhood of rivers 
and on land that is always in a half swampy condition. The trees bear liber fit to 
pull or cut at the of age 6 to 9 years. The mean temperature of the piassava district 
is 77°. "Crops'' are discovered by exploration, as a tract of scattered trees can not 
be advantageously worked over. After a suitable location is discovered the camp is 
stocked with mules and food for both men and animals, and the work begins. The 
average cut of one man is 3 arrobas per day (1 arroba=32£ pounds) of the loose fiber, 
though the fiber is only weighed after putting into bundles, into which stones and 
pieces of palm are often smuggled to add to the weight. After weighing the fiber it 
is transported to the fazenda of the proprietor, where it is baled (both by hand and 
by press), ready for shipment to Bahia. Including cutting, expenses of transporta- 
tion, with wages of muleteers and hire of animals, and then food, packing, labor, com- 
mission, etc., amount to 2.468 milreis, or, approximately, $1.38. Very little of the 
fiber is used locally, almost the entire product being exported. Of the annual export 
of 7,000 tons, Great Britain takes about half, Germany very nearly a quarter, the 
remainder going to Belgium, France, Portugal, and the southern Republics. 

In the monthly circular of Messrs. Ide & Christie, the London fiber brokers, all 
the harsher commercial brush fibers are classed under "Piassava,'' the following forms 
being recognized : Brazilian, Bahia (Attalea funifera) and Para (LcopoJdinla piassaba) ; 
Kitool, from Ceylon, etc. (Caryota nrens); Palmyra, also from Ceylon (Borassus Jlabel- 
lifer); "West Africa, Baphia vinifera, and Madagascar, Diciyosperma fibrosum. Bahia 
piassaba ranges in price from 18s. to 58s. per hundredweight in London. 

A. funifera finds a place in Dr. Ernst's Venezuelan list, known as Chiquechique. Its 
fiber is an article of export from Venezuela as well as Brazil, some 90,000 pounds 
having been exported in a single year. "The fiber is employed for brooms, brushes, 
ropes, and cables. The last are very strong, durable, and so light that they float on 
water. Recently there have been experiments made in the United States to trans- 
form these fibers into an article similar to horsehair for making mattresses." (Dr. 
Ernst.) Principally used in the United States as a brush fiber. 

A. spectabilis, the Curna palm, found on the Rio Negro. Brazil, furnishes in its leaves 
a thatch material. In Peru it is known as Shacapa, and "the fiber is used for ropes/' 
James Orton, in The Andes and the Amazon, mentions also A. humboltiana, the Yagua 
of the Indians. Dorca gives Catirina as t4ie Peruvian name of Attalea. 

* Specimens of fiber and ropes, Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Attalea speciosa. Uauassu Palm. 

This species grows on the dry forest lands of the upper Amazon. It is a noble 
palm, with a stem 50 or 60 feet high, straight, cylindrical, and nearly smooth. The 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



77 



leaves are very large, terminal, and regularly pinnate. The leaflets are elongate, 
rigid, closely set together, and spreading out flat on each side of the midrib. The 
sheathing "bases of the petioles are persistent for a greater or less distance down 
the stem, and in young trees down to the ground, as in the (Enoearpus bataua. The 
spadices grow from among the leaves and are large and simply hranched. The 
fruit is of large size compared with most American palms, being about 3 inches long, 
and from this circumstance it derives its native name u Vauassti," signifying " large 
fruit." 

On the lower Amazon and in the neighborhood of Para A. excelsa is not uncommon. 
It is a handsome, lofty species which grows on lands flooded at high tides, and is 
called by the natives Urucuri. The fruit of this tree is burnt, and the smoke is 
used to black the newly made 
india rubber. Martins says that 
the fruit of the A. speciosa is used 
for this purpose, but that species 
is not found in the principal rub- 
ber districts, while A. excelsa is 
abundant there. ( Wallace, Palms 
of the Amazon). 

Structural Fiber. — The foliage 
of this tree is very extensively 
used for thatching. The young 
plants produce very large leaves 
before the stem is formed, and it is 
in this state that they are gener- 
ally used. The unopened leaves 
from the center are preferred, as, 
though they require some prepara- 
tion, they produce a more uniform 
thatch. The leaf is shaken till 
it falls partially open, and then 
each leaflet is torn at the base so 
as to remain hanging by its mid- 
rib only, which is, however, quite 
sufficient to secure it firmly. They 
thus hang all at right angles to 
the midrib of the leaf, which ad- 
mits of their being laid in a very 
regular manner on the rafters. 
They are generally known as 
"pallia branca"or "white thatch/' 
from the pale yellow color of the 
unopened leaves, and are consid- 
ered the best covering for houses 
in places where Bussu can not be obtained. ( Wallace, Palms of the Amazon.) 




Fig. 29.— The Baliia Piassaha palm, Attalea funijera. 



Athryxia phylicoides. 

This species, known in Natal as i-Tshanyela, is said by J. Medley Wood, in the Report 
of the Colonial Herbarium (Durban, 1894), to be employed as a material for brooms. 

Australian mallow. See Lavatera plebeia. 
Aya-mushiro matting (Jap.). See Cyperwt unitans. 
Baboi and Babui (Beng.). See Ischwmum. 



78 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



Bacaba (Braz.). See (Enocarpus bacdba. 

Bacona and Vacona (Alaurin. Pandanus utilis. 

Bactris setosa. 

Endogen. Palmce. A slender palm. 
This genus of palms is found in the West Indies, Brazil, and other tropical regions 
of South America. 
STRUCTURAL Fiber. — The fiber of the leaves, known as Tecun (or Tecum) both in 

Peru and Brazil, is very strong, and 
is used "for fishing nets and lines" 
(Savorgnan), and "for hats, ropes, 
hammocks, etc." (Dorca). 

The species appears in Bernardin's 
Catalogue with the common name 
Tecum, the fiber of which is "em- 
ployed for hammocks and fillets." 
See also Astrocaryum tucuma and A. 
vulgare. B. maraja is another Bra- 
zilian species mentioned in Notes on 
the State of Para. W. C. E., 1893, as 
supplying a useful fiber. 

Bactris integrifolia. 

A Brazilian species found on the 
upper Rio Negro. The stem is 
hardly so thick as the little finger, 
and 9 or 10 feet high, smooth and 
distinctly jointed. The leaves are 
four or five in number, terminal, 
entire, three or four times as long 
as they are wide, and not very deeply 
bifid at the end. The petioles and 
their sheathing bases are thickly set 
with long, flat black spines. The 
spadices are very small, erect, and 
two-l>ranched, growing from among 
the persistent sheathing bases below 
the leaves. The spathes are small, 
erect, and persistent, clothed with 
adpressed brown spines. The fruit 
is small and globular and of a black 
color. ( Wallace.) Not particularly interesting as a fiber plant, but serves to illus- 
trate the group. (See fig. 30.) Refer to Guilielma s2)eciosa. 

Bagasse. 

The refuse of sugar cane after roller crushing, before the diffusion process had 
been adopted. The following is from a report by the author issued in 1879: 

"Amongotherfibrous products named in reply to the circular sent to manufacturers 
were samples of the bagasse of sugar cane and a series of the products derived from 
it for paper manufacture. The raw product is obtained a1 the mills (Louisiana sugar 
plantation) at abont $15 per ton, or three-fourth- of a .cut per pouud. The bagasse 
from Louisiana cane is considered superior to that from the West Indies, from the 
fact that it never reaches its real state of maturity, while the latter is not used until 
quite ripe. The matured fiber is coarser and le-- flexible and strong." 

"Megasse, or Bagasse, the refuse of the sugar cane alter passing through the 




Fig. 30. — Bactris in U 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 79 

rollers of the sugar mill for the expression of the juice. It is generally used in the 
Tropics as fuel, hut latterly an attempt has been made to use it for paper making. 
Samples of paper made from it are shown." (Off. Guide Kew Mus.) 

Bagolaro (It.)- Celt-is australis. 

Bahia piassaba (Braz.). See Attalea funifera. 

Bakrabadi jute (Iud.). See Corchorus. 

Balizier (Trin.). See Reliconia. 

Balsa or Balso (S. Am.). See Ochroma lagopus, etc. 

Bambagia (see Bombax malabaricum). 

Bamboo (see Arimdinaria, Bambusa, and Dendrocalamus). 

Bambusa arundinacea. The Bamboo. 

Endogen. Graminece. A cane, 70 to 80 feet. 

Native names. — Quasi (Arab.); jVai (Pers.); Mandgay (Bomb.); Bans (Beng.); 
Kattu-una (Ceyl.). 

"The spiny bamboo of central and southwest India." 

The genus Bambusa embraces many species of " giant grass " found in the Tropics 
of both hemispheres, but B. arundinacea may be generally accepted as the one com- 
monly known as bamboo. Tbe largest and best canes are produced from this spe- 
cies, though other cultivated species are sometimes mistaken for it. Dr. Morris says 
that B. vulgaris is generally cultivated in British gardens. 

Structural, Fiber. — This is derived from the shoots, which are reduced to fibrous 
material to form paper stock. For other manufactures the canes are split or shred- 
ded, to be afterwards wrought into various forms. 

Cultivation. — The method of planting it most commonly adopted by the natives 
of India is by shoots, or the lower part of the halm with a portion of the rhizome, 
set out during the rains, but heavy and constant rain for some time afterwards is 
essential. In Algeria propagation by stem cuttings is found to succeed admirably. 
Cultivation from seed is, perhaps, the most certain plan; but it is open to the serious 
disadvantage that the plant then requires ten to fifteen years to attain a growth 
sufficient to admit of cropping. The plant will not grow in poor or waste soils, but 
prefers the rich land on the banks of streams. Abundance of moisture, supplied 
either naturally or by irrigation, is absolutely essential. Thousands of acres of 
wild bamboo jungle exist in the Tropics, but very little of this is available for the 
purposes of the paper manufacturer, as experience has shown that shoots of the year 
are the only ones which can be used. This fact, coupled with the equally important 
one that an abundance of bamboo is essential to the very existence of the native 
races of the East Indies, renders it certain that for industrial undertakings the plant 
would have to be systematically cultivated. (Spon.) 

Utility. — The variety of purposes to which the bamboo is applied is almost end- 
less. The Chinese use it in one way or another for nearly everything they require. 
The sails of their ships as well as their masts and rigging consist chiefly of bamboo, 
manufactured in different ways. Almost every article of furniture in their houses, 
including mats, screens, chairs, tables, bedsteads and bedding, and utensils gener- 
ally employed in the domestic economy, and even coarse underclothing, are made of 
this material, which is similarly used in Japan, Java, and Sumatra. 

"Employed in shipbuilding and in the construction of bridges. Buckets, pitchers, 
flasks, and cups, are made from sections of the stems. Baskets, boxes, fans-, hats, 
and jackets are made from the split bamboo. Ropes and Chinese paper are made 
from these grasses. A Chinese umbrella consists of bamboo paper, with a bamboo 
handle and split bamboo for a frame. The leaves are used for packing, filling beds, 
etc., and occasionally serve as fodder for stock. The young shoots serve as a vege- 



80 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

table. Tabaskir, or bamboo manna, a siliceous and crystalline substance which 
occurs in the hollow stems of some bamboos, is regarded as possessing medicinal 
properties. Good drinking water collects in quantities in the hollows of the inter- 
nodes of many of the larger bamboos. All sorts of agricultural implements, appli- 
ances for spinning cotton and wool or for reeling silk are often constructed entirely 
from bamboo. Very many articles of household use or decoration made from bam- 
boo have become articles of commerce in Europe and in this country. So many and 
varied are the uses of the several species of bamboo that it is possible to mention 
here only a part of them." (F. Lamson-Scribner.) 

For making paper stock the Chinese employ the shoots 1 and 2 years old. The 
material is macerated in water for a week or more, after which the pieces — some 5 
feet in length — are washed and placed in a dry ditch and covered with slacked lime 
for a number of days, when they are again washed, cut into filaments, and dried or 
bleached in the sun. In this state they aie boiled in large kettles and subsequently 
reduced to pulp in wood mortars by means of heavy pestles. A glutinous substance is 
then mixed with the pulp, aud upon this mixture the quality of the paper depends. 
Another account is given in An Index to Economic Products of Jamaica, 1891, under 
Bambusa vulgaris, as follows: 

"In China, it is the principal, if not the only, material for paper making. The 
Chinese use the native bamboo, which they split into lengths of 3 or 4 feet, and place 
in a layer in a tank. This is covered with lime, and alternate layers of bamboo and 
lime are so placed until the tank is full. Water is run in to cover the whole, and 
left for three or four months, when the bamboo has become rotten. The soft bam- 
boo is pounded in a mortar into a pulp, mixed with water, and then poured on 
square, sieve-like molds. The sheets are allowed to dry on the mold, then placed 
against a hot wall, and finally exposed to the sun. Mr. Eoutledge advocated the use 
of young shoots, but one difficulty is that cutting them weakens the stock; in fact, 
if all the young shoots are cut for three successive years the stock dies. At Lacovia, 
bamboo is crushed, and exported in short lengths as packing for cylinders. The 
young shoots, freed from the sheaths, are used in India in curries, pickles, and pre- 
serves. The very young shoots are not unlike asparagus." (Fau-cett.) 

While articles of bamboo are common in this country, being largely imported 
brush making from bamboo splints is a considerable industry. 

Bamiya (Arab.). Hibiscus esculentus. 

Banana (see Musa sapientum). 

Ban-bway (Burm.). See Gareya arborea. 

Bandaka (Ceyl.). See Hibiscus esculentus. 

Bandala. See Musa textilis. 

Bandura-wel (Ceyl.). See Nepenthes. 

Bang (Pers.). Cannabis sativa. 

Bankas and Bankush (X. TV". Prov. Ind.). See Ischamum, 

Banraj and Banraji (Beng.). Bauliinia raccmosa. 

Ban-rhea (Ind.). See Villebrunea. 

Bans and Behur-bans (Beug.). Bambusa arundinacea. 

Bans-keora (Ind.). See Agave americana. 

Banyan Fiber (see Ficu.s benghalensis). 

Baobab Tree. Monkey Bread of Africa. See Adansonia digitaia. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 81 

Barbone (It.). Chrysopogon gryllus. 
Barbari (Ind.). See Beaumontia. 

Barley straw. Employed in straw plait. See Hordeum. 
Barrigon (S. Am.). See Ceiba. 
Barriguda (Braz.). Iriartea ventricosa. 
Bashofu (cloth, of Jap.). See Musa basjoo. 
Basket manufacture. 

Baskets are made from grasses and sedges, from the lance-like leaves of freed and 
similar plants, from palm leaves, and from the twigs of various dicotyledonous plants, 
such as the willows, etc. See Salix viminalis, S. triandra, S. lasiandra, etc. ; Ehus 
trilobata, Yucca brevifolia, Scirpus lacustris, Epicampes rig ens, Lygeum spartum, etc. 
Also made from splints of ash, pine, hickory, and other woods. See Eraxinus. 

Bass fiber. Monkey or Para piassaba (see Leopoldinia piassaba) ; 

West African (see Baphia mnifera). 

Bass-like fibers (see Attalea funifera, Borassus flabellifer, and Dic- 
tyospermum fibrosum). 

Bassia longifolia. 

An India species of Sapotacece mentioned by Liotard in his work on India paper 
materials. 
Bassine. Same as Palmyra. See Borassus. 

Bass-wood or Linden. See Tilia. 

Bast Fiber, Description of. See Introduction, j>age 25. 

Bastard Aloe. Agave vivipara. 

Bastard cedar (Jam.). See Guazuma. 

Batatas paniculata. Caffir, Cotton. See Ipomcea. 

Bauhinia coccinea. 

Exogen. Leguminoso?. Small tree. 
A plant of Cochin China, the bark of which, according to the Manual Hoepli, 
yields a very strong fiber ; the uses are not stated. 

Bauhinia racemosa. Maloo Climber. 

The Bauhinias are a genus of arborescent or climbing plants belonging to the 
Leguminosce, and are found in tropical countries. 

Fiber. — The inner bark of this Indian species yields a bast fiber that can be made 
into rude cordage, but which soon rots in water. It is reddish in color, very tough 
and strong, and on account of this quality has been employed in India in the con- 
struction of bridges across the Jumna. The stems are usually cut in July or August, 
the outer bark being stripped off and thrown away, while the inner layers are used 
for rope as wanted, being previously soaked in water, and are twisted wet. 

Other Indian species yielding fiber are B. macrostachya, B. tomentosa, B. purpurea, 
B. anguina (the snake climber), and B. vahlii (the gigantic climber). (See fig. 31.) 

The uses of B. racemosa are, perhaps, more numerous than those of any other for- 
est plant ; the strong cordage prepared from its bark is an important article with the 

12247— No. 9 6 



82 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



hill tribes. Specimens of this fiber were exhibited at the London Exhibition of 
1851 under the name of Patwa or Mawal. A large collection of strong red ropes 
from it were also displayed at the Calcutta International Exhibition. Captain 
lluddleston in his Report on Hemp in Garhwal, in 1840, gives the following facts: 
•'The ' maloo' is a large creeper, 40 or 50 yards in length, and of considerable thick- 
ness, from the bark of which a very strong rope is made. The natives chiefly use it 
for tying up their cattle and sewing their straw mats with the fresh bark; it also 
makes capital matches for guns, and muzzles for oxen and calves." It is "cut gen- 
erally in July or August, though it may be cut all seasons, and the outer bark, being 

stripped off, is thrown away, the inner 
coating being used for ropes, as wanted, 
by being previously soaked in water and 
twisted when wet. A large creeper will 
produce a maund of fiber, called 'seloo.' 
The bark before being used is boiled and 
beaten with mallets, which renders it soft 
and pliable for being made into ropes and 
string for charpoys.'- (Watt.) See Spon, 
Enc.,Div. 3, p. 921; Die. Ec. Prod. Ind., 
Vol. I, p. -122; Ann. Rept. U. S. Dept. Ag., 
1879, p. 528. 




Bauhinia splendens. 
Creeper. 



The Chain 



Fig. 31.— Leaves of Bauhinia vahlii 

are about 1£ inches in diameter, 
the muraro, which produces stron 



Native name. — Bejuco cle Cadena 
(Venez.). Bejuco (Cent. Am.). 
Grows wild in Brazil, Venezuela, and 
South America generally. Samples of the 
fibrous bark from the countries named 
were received from the Phil. Int. Exh., 
1876. "Found in hot, damp forests. The 
stems are extremely flexible and tough so 
that they can be used as cords, being more 
durable than iron nails, which in the damp 
atmosphere rust very soon and give way." 
(Ernst.) 

Specimens of heavy cordage from this 
species exhibited in the museum of the De- 
partment were made by twisting together 
the unprepared strips of bark as peeled 
from the plant. The ribbon-like strip is 
very dark, almost black, and the cordage 
is of the coarsest description. The cables 
In the handbook of Para. Bauhinia is referred to as 
;• libers for ropes. Also found in Costa Rica. 



Beach grass (see Ammophila). 

Bear grass (see Yucca and Dasylirion). 

Beaumontia grandiflora. 

Exogen. Apocynacece. Evergreen climber. 

India, east and north Bengal. From Nepal eastward to Sikkim, Sylhet, and Chit- 
tagong, ascending to 4,000 feet elevation. 

SURFACE FIBER. — "It furnishes the best seed hairs yet known, though least util- 
ized. The fiber is said to be not only the most lustrous and most purely white of all 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 83 

the so-called ' vegetable silks/ but possesses besides a remarkable degree of strength. 
Moreover, the hairs are very easily separated from the seeds. The dimensions of the 
fibers are, 1.181 to 1.771 inches long, and 0.001287 to 0.00195 inch in diameter." (Spon.) 
A fiber is also prepared from the young twigs. ( Watt.) 

Bedanjir (Pers.). See Ricinus communis. 

Bedolee sutta (Ind.). See Pcederia. 

Bejuco, or Bejuco de Cadena (S. Am.). See Bauhinia splendens. 

Beligobel (Ceyl.). Hibiscus tiliaceus. 

Belli patta (Bomb, and Ceyl.). See Hibiscus tiliaceus. 

Bene. Andropogon squarrosus. 

Bengi (Panj.). Cannabis sativa. 

Bent grass (see Ammophila arenaria). 

Bermuda palm. Sabal blacMurnianum. 

Bertholletia excelsa. Brazil Nut Tree. 

Exogen. LecytMdacew. Tree, 100 to 150 feet. 

Native of British Guiana, Venezuela, and Brazil. The fruit is the well-known 
Brazil nut. The tree is one of the most majestic in the South American forests, 
attaining a height of 100 or 150 feet, with a smooth cylindrical trunk, about 3 or 4 
feet in diameter, and seldom having any branches till near the top. (A. Smith.) 

Fiber. — Samples of the bark of this tree were exhibited at the Pbiladelphia Exhibi- 
tion with the fiber produced from it. "Used as a substitute for oakum for calking 
vessels" (De Gama). 

Betel-nut palm (see Areca). 

Betina-da (Ind.). The fiber. See Melochia arbor ea. 

Betula bhojpattra. Indian Paper Birch. 

Exogen. Betulacecc. A tree. 

An Indian species, found in the higher ranges of the Himalayas, in India. " The 
bark is well known as the material upon' which the ancient Sanskrit manuscripts of 
northern India are written." 

Fiber. — The bark, in sheets, used as a substitute for paper. " The young branches 
are plaited into twig bridges" ( Watt). It is also used as wrapping paper and in 
the manufacture of the flexible pipe stems used by hookah smokers. Has been used 
for umbrellas and for clothing by Hindu pilgrims in Kashmir. 

Betula papyrifera. Paper Birch. Canoe Birch. 

North America. Northwestern and northeastern in United States ; northward in 
British America. It reaches a higher latitude than most other North American trees ; 
grows to a height of 60 feet. u The wood is extensively employed in the manufac- 
ture of spools, shoe lasts, and all kinds of turnery ; lately much employed for paper 
pulp " (B. E. Fernoiv). 

The thick bark of this tree, which can be readily removed from a long clean trunk 
in spring, is the one employed by the Indians for making their bark canoes. The 
bark is also used in the manufacture of small ornaments, such as napkin rings, bas- 
kets, pincushions, etc. (Cr. B. Sudworth.) 

Bhabur grass (see Ischcemum). 
Bhanga (Sanscrit). Cannabis sativa. 



84 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Bhatialjute (Ind.). See Corchorus. 
Bhat niggi (Ind.). See WiJcstrcemia. 

' > (Ind.). Thespesia populnea and Hibiscus esculentus. 
Bhindi ) 

Various forms of the word are used iu different provinces, aud for l>oth species. 

Bible, Fibers of the. See Ancient Fibers, in Introduction, page 11. 
Biboci (Bolivia). See Gouratari. 
Bichu (Ind.). Urtica dioica. 

Bignonia viminalis. Liane a" Cordes, of the French colonies. 

Exogen. Bignoniacece. Climber. 
Many species of the genus are found in Xorth and South America. They are 
scandent, tendrilled plants, often climbing to the tops of the highest trees. B. vimi- 
nalis is mentioned in Bernardin's Catalogue as a cordage substitute. "The natives 
of French Guiana use the tough, flexible stems of B. Tcerere as a substitute for ropes, 
and from strips of them weave various kinds of baskets and broad-brimmed hats" 
(J. Smith). B. cequinoctialis is a Brazilian species. " From the young branches the 
natives make baskets and fishing-tackle" (Savorgnan). See Tecoma. 

Bingo-i. Japanese matting rush. See Juncas. 
Bira-bira (Arg.). See Daplinopsis leguizamonis. 
Bissus. The ancient Greek name of flax. Linum. 
Birch. See Betula. 
Bixa orellana. Arnatto. The Kocor. 

Exogen. Biraceiv. Small tree, to 30 feet. 
Native names.-:- Uruca (Braz.); Kougluomln (Beng.). 
Tropical America. Escaped from cultivation in India. This species supplies the 
well-known Arnatto dye. 

Fiber. — -'The bark yields a good cordage " ( Watt). Enumerated in the State of 
Para (W. C. E., 1893) among the species that yield fibers for rope making. 

Black Ash. Fraxinus nigra. 

Black Bunch grass. Hilaria jamesii. 

Black Fiber (Ceyl.). Caryota rnitis. 

Black Grama. Muhlenbergia pungens. 

Black Reed (Vict.). See Ghania. 

Black Run Palm (Afr.). See Borassus. 

Black sage. See Gordia. 

Blood wood. See Croton gossypiifolius. 

Blue grass. Poa pratensis. 

Blue mahoe. Hibiscus elatus. 

Blue moor grass (G-t. Brit.). Molinia ccerulea. 

Bocca di Leone I It.). See Antirrhinum majus. 

Bockara (of Bernardin), or Bokhara clover. See Melilotus. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 85 

Boehmeria spp. Stingless Kettles. 

This genus of Urticacece comprises 40 or more species found, in both hemispheres, 
and is closely allied to the genus Urtica, the plants of which have stinging hairs. 
They are herbs or shrubs producing slender stalks, clothed with large, obovate 
leaves. There is but one American representative of the genus, Boehmeria oylindrica 
(the false nettle), an annual plant found in waste lands from Ontario, Canada, to 
Minnesota and southward from Florida to Kansas. It has no value as a fiber plant. 
B. caudata is a Brazilian species used only medicinally, and B. stipularis is found in 
the Sandwich Islands, its bark having been used to a slight extent for making 
"kapa," or native beaten cloth. An allied species, Pipturus gaudichaudianus, for- 
merly included in the genus Boehmeria, is also used in this manner by the natives of 
these islands. Other Indian species are B.polystachya, B. sidafolia, B. didymogyna y , etc. 

Among the species native to India, of which there are nearly a score, are found 
some better fiber plants, though not worthy of special mention. I may note, how- 
ever, B. macrophylla, which abounds from Kumaon to the Khasia hills, and which 
yields a beautiful fiber much prized by the natives for fishing nets. B. platyphylla 
is a south Indian species which produces a strong cordage bast, and B. malabarica is 
found in the tropical forests of India, Burma, and Ceylon. This species yields a very 
tenacious fiber which has found use in Ceylon for fishing lines. 

The commercially important species of Boehmeria are B. nivea and B. tenacissima, 
full descriptions of which are to be found below. See fig. 1, PI. VIII, the upper 
portion of a stalk of B. nivea, showing form of leaves. 

Regarding the identity of these two species, particularly in relation to their com- 
mon names, so much confusion has existed that Dr. Morris, of the Royal Gardens, 
Kew, has proposed the following economic classification, which has been adopted: 
Series A — Boehmeria nivea. 

1. China grass. The commercial fiber, hand cleaned in China. 

2. China grass. Stripped bast or ribbons (hand or machine). 

3. China grass Fiber prepared (hand or machine). 
Series B — Boehmeria tenacissima. 

4. Ramie or Rhea. Ribbons or stripped bast (hand or machine cleaned). 

5. Ramie or Rhea. Fiber prepared (either hand or machine). 

It should be further noted that B. nivea is the temperate and subtropical species, 
while B. tenacissima thrives best in subtropical and tropical climes. 

There are several allied species which produce superior fiber, among which may 
be mentioned Haoutia puya, found in India. See also Touchardia latifolia, which 
produces the Olona fiber of the Sandwich Islands, a textile that should be better 
known. 

Boehmeria nivea. China Grass. 

Exogen. Urticacece. Shrub 5 to 8 feet as cultivated. 

Native names. — The following names have been used indiscriminately to desig- 
nate the two commercial species of Boehmeria (see economic classification 
under Boehmeria) : China grass, Rhea, Ramie (Eng.) ; Ramio and Ramie (Span.) ; 
Ortie Blanche sans dards de Chine (Fr.)'j Ramie, Rameh (Java); Tsjo, Mao, and 
others (Jap.); Tchou-ma and others (China); Klooi, Caloee, etc. (Siam); 
EanJchura (Beng.); Poah (Nepal) ; Goun (Burm.), and many others. 
Indigenous in India, and probably also in China, Japan, and the Indian Archipel- 
ago, but introduced by cultivation into the warmer parts of Europe and North and 
South America. 

The China grass (B. nivea) is a shrubby plant with the habit of the common nettle, 
but without stinging hairs. There are numerous straight shoots that arise from the 
perennial rootstock to a height of 4 to 8 feet. The leaves are on long petioles, 
broadly heart-shaped, with serrated -edges and white, downy beneath. The seeds 
are small, and produced somewhat sparingly. This is the original China grass plant 



86 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 




so long cultivated by the Chinese under the name of Tchou Ma. There are two 
forms of this plant. One is the China grass mentioned above, Boehmeria nivea, a tem- 
perate, and the other, ramie or rhea, a tropical, plant, known as /•'. nivea, var. tenacis- 
sinia. It would be well to preserve these distinctions in 
regard to the fiber also. The term ramie, or rhea, should 
only be applied to the variety tenacissima. This differs from 
the type by its more robust habit and larger leaves, 'which 
are green on both sides. This character easily distinguishes 
it from China grass, which has leaves white-felted beneath. 
The distinction here suggested is an important one. Ramie 
or rhea is a native of Assam and the Malay Islands. It 
thrives only in tropical countries, and it is useless to culti- 
vate it elsewhere. At Kew it has been found that while 
ramie or rhea (/>'. nirea var. tenacissima) cannot be grown in 
the open air, the China grass (J>. nirea) remains in the 
ground all the winter, and furnishes a crop of shoots, but 
only once in the year. The value of the ramie or rhea liber, 
as compared with China grass, has not been carefully and 
fully investigated. Ramie from India has, however, not 
proved so valuable, so far, as the China grass. In the large 
mass of literature on China grass there is considerable con- 
fusion between it and ramie or rhea, and the results in 
consequence lose their value. (Dr. D. Morris.) 

Bast Fiber. — The fiber of China grass is strong and dur- 
able, is of all fibers least affected by moisture, and from 
these characteristics must take first rank in value as a textile 
substance. It has three times the strength of Russian hemp, 
while its filaments can be separated almost to the fineness 
of silk. In manufacture it has been spun on various forms 
of textile machinery, also used in connection with cotton, 
wool, and silk, and can be employed as a substitute in cer- 
tain forms of manufacture for all of these textiles, and for 
llax also, where elasticity is not essential. It likewise pro- 
duces superior paper, the fineness and close texture of its 
pulp making it a most valuable bank-note paper. The fiber 
can be dyed in all desirable shades or colors, some examples 
having the luster and brilliancy of silk. In China and Japan 
it is extracted by hand labor; it is not only manufactured 
into cordage, fish lines, nets, and similar coarse manufac- 
tures, but woven into the finest and most beautiful of fabrics. 
The specific gravity of ramie ' yarn is less than that of linen 
yarn in the ratio of 6 to 10, so that 1. kilogram linen yarn 
No. 10 measures 6,000 meters, while the same weight of ramie 
yarn measures 10,000 meters. This peculiarity lessens the 
apparent difference in the price of the two yarns. On the 
other hand, ramie yarn is heavier than cotton in the ratio of 
6 to 5. Ramie yarn is easily distinguished from other yarns 
by its high luster and silky appearance, in which it excels 
linen and cotton. Ramie fibers are distinguished from all 
other libers by their great length, usually from 10 to 1.") centi- 
meters (often 25 to l<> centimeters or more), by a certain 
etraightness and stiffness, and by the considerable breadth 






Fig. 32. — A properly grow a 
stalk of ramie. 



■The term ramie, used in this statement, :i> well as in those which follow, refers to 
the fiber from either species of Boehmeria, Ramie proper being />'. nivea var. tenacissima, 

while China grass is II. nirea. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 87 

of from 0.04 to 0.06 millimeter (flax, 0.016; cotton, 0.014 to 0.024; silk, 0.009 to 0.029). 
(Dr. Hassack.) 

History. — The active interest in China grass, ramie, and rhea began in 1869, when 
a reward of £5,000 was offered by the Government of India for the best machine with 
which to decorticate the geeen stalks. The first exhibition and trial of machines 
took place in 1872, resulting in utter failure. The reward was again offered, and in 
1879 a second official trial was held, at which ten machines competed, though none 
filled the requirements, and subsequently the offer was withdrawn. The immediate 
result was to stimulate invention in many countries, and from 1869 to the present 
time inventors have been untiring in their efforts to produce a successful machine. 

The first records of Chinese shipments of fiber to European markets show that in 
1872 200 or 300 tons of the fiber were sent to London, valued at £80 per ton, or about 
$400. India also sent small shipments, but there was a light demand and prices fell 
to £30 to £40 per ton for Chinese and £19 to £30 for the India product. In a letter 
from Messrs. Ide & Christie, the London fiber brokers, discussing the point of demand 
and supply, received in 1890, it was stated that ramie ribbons had at no time been 
shipped to Europe from any country in large quantity. Three hundred or 400 tons 
during the preceding five years would represent the maximum quantity brought 
from China, while India and other producing countries had sent little more than 
sample lots and trial parcels. The largest lot of ramie ever received at any one 
time was in October, 1888, when 120 to 130 tons of ribbons were offered in the Lon- 
don market. There was nothing like competition for it, and it was sold for £8 to 
£9, less than half what it cost in China. 

Experiments in manufacture in England date back to the sixties. There were 
difficulties, however, in the way of preparing the fiber and in adapting machinery 
for spinning it that made these processes too costly, and after fortunes had been 
wasted the effort was abandoned. 

Ramie seed is said by Favier to have been first introduced into France in 1836, 
and in 1844 plants were brought from China by the surgeon of the war ship Favorite, 
which were grown in the acclimating gardens. While one writer claims that the 
plant was first brought to the gardens of Europe in 1733, Favier states that Dr. 
Fras cultivated the plant in the botanical gardens of Munich in 1850, and that it 
was grown in Belgium in 1860. 

Introduction into the United States dates back to 1855, but the records seem to 
show that it did not obtain a foothold in Mexico until 1867, the year in which the 
first American ramie machine was brought to public attention. It is interesting to 
note that the first shipment of plants into France in considerable number was from 
America, 10,000 plants having been imported for distribution in France and Algiers 
in 1868. 

The first French official trials took place in 1888, followed by the trials of 1889, in 
Paris, at which the writer was present, and which are recorded in Report No. 1 of 
the Fiber Investigations series. Another trial was held in 1891, and in the same 
year the first official trials in America took place, in the State of Vera Cruz, in 
Mexico, followed the next year by the first official trials of American machines in 
the United States; these being followed by the trials of 1894. The history of the 
experiments in cultivation in the United States are recorded or referred to in the 
reports issued by the Office of Fiber Investigations of the United States Department 
of Agriculture, notably Nos. 1, 2, and 7, to which reference should be made for more 
detailed statements than are here presented. 

Cultivatiox.— In general terms it may be said that the ramie plant requires a 
hot, moist climate, with no extremes of temperature, and a naturally rich, damp, but 
never a wet, soil, the necessary moisture to be supplied by frequent rains or by 
irrigation ; in other words, such a climate and soil that, when the growing season 
has commenced, the growth will be rapid and continuous. In the United States the 
best localities, so far as experiment has determined, are portions of Florida, Mis- 
sissippi, Louisiana, and Texas on the Gulf, and central California on the Pacific 



88 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



Coast. The other Gulf States, doubtless, will prove equally favorable to this culture 
when more extensive experiments have been undertaken than are now recorded. 
Regarding the northern limit of commercial culture it is difficiilt to make positive 
statements. The plant thrives in South Carolina, and it is fair to suppose that two 
annual crops are possible, though the quality and yield of the fiber can only be 
ascertained to a certainty by careful tests of the product of both crops. North of 
this State commercial culture is hardly possible. Intelligently conducted experi- 
ments in Missouri have demonstrated that but a single crop of fiber, of doubtful 
value, can be secured in a season in that latitude, while attempted culture in the 
State of New Jersey, with the aid of a State bounty, resulted in nothing. In China 
the commercial crop is produced between latitudes which in 
this country form very nearly the northern and southern 
boundaries of Louisiana. Fig. 30 is a properly grown stalk 
of ramie, which matured seed in ten weeks in Louisiana. 
(See also fig. 32). Fig. 31 is a stalk of ramie, which grew 
through an entire season on the grounds of the Department 
of Agriculture in Washington without even blossoming, while 
the plants branched to such an extent that the stalks were 
totally ruined for fiber. In no country are the stalks cnt 
for fiber until mature, for if cut before proper maturity the 
portion of the stalk which is still growing and green and suc- 
culent can not produce fiber. These facts disprove, in toto, 
the idea that ramie can be cultivated for its fiber as a paying 
industry in any section where straight, properly-matured 
stalks, free from branches, can not be grown, and produce at 
least two annual crops. 

In the Gulf States ramie has been grown experimentally in 
a great variety of soils, from the light sandy uplands to the 
rich black lauds of the Louisiana bottoms, though light, 
sandy, alluvial soils have always given the best results. In 
California deep alluvial, sandy, or loamy lands which, when 
well prepared, will hold their moisture through the growing 
season, or that can be irrigated, are most commonly selected. 
Dr. Hilgard, director of the California Agricultural Experi- 
ment Station, says only strong soils can be expected to pro- 
duce in one season one crop of 10 tons of stalks of any kind, 
and that few can continue to produce such crops for many 
years without substantial returns to the land, no matter how 
fertile originally. Among the strongest soils in the State are 
those containing more or less of ''alkali.' 7 and, as these are 
mostly valley lands, the question of their adaptation to ramie 
culture is important. He considers that the plant will stand 
alkali provided it is not of the black kind, viz, carbonate of 
soda. 
In all countries where ramie has been grown commercially 
or experimentally the necessity for heavily enriching the soil by the application of 
the farm manures or chemical fertilizers is emphasized, for successful ramie culture 
is an impossibility on impoverished land. Where it is difficult to obtain sufficient 
quantities of manure it is recommended to collect and burn all refuse of decortica- 
tion and return the ashes to the soil. The proportion of mineral constituents found 
in the fiber which is taken away is very small. The French writers attach great 
importance to the use of leaves as fertilizing material, and as these amount to almost 
half of the green weight of the crop, the advantage of such a practice will be readily 
appreciated. Well-decomposed -table manures and well-ground chemical fertilizers, 
guano, and oil cake are all used with success upon French ramie plantations. The 
practice is to spread these upon the land, the rains or irrigation carrying the nutritive 




Fig. 33.— Au improp- 
erly grown stalk of 
ramie. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



89 



elements to the roots of the plants. Ahout 7,000 pounds of stahle manure, or 525 
to 615 pounds of chemical fertilizers or oil cake are used per acre. Allison recom- 
mends 300 pounds of cotton-seed meal and 300 pounds of kainit per acre. 

The plant is propagated hy seeds, by cuttings, or by layers, and by division of the 
roots. When produced from seed, open-air planting can hardly be relied upon, 
plants started in the hotbed giving the best results. After planting, the seeds are 
covered thinly with sifted earth and kept shaded from the sun until the young plants 
are 2 or 3 inches high. In five or six weeks they will be strong enough to trans- 
plant to the field. The most practical method is propagation by a division of the 
roots of old or fully matured plants. (See fig. 35.) 

In preparing tbe land for a plantation, thorough tilth — that is, deep plowing and 
cross harrowing — is essential, which should be done in the fall. The ground is fre- 
quently broken to a depth of 15 inches or more, but never less than a depth of 12 
inches, to secure good results, and lumpy land is rolled. Before x>lanting, the ground 
is again cross plowed, harrowed, and rolled, about the 
1st of February being a good time for the work. The 
roots are usually set in rows 4 to 5 feet apart, and 1 
foot to 15 inches in tho row, although practice differs 
in different sections. 

The estimated cost of establishing a ramie planta- 
tion in the United States per acre is about $60, includ- 
ing purchase of 8,000 roots at $35, and about $10 for 
fertilizers. The crop is ready to cut when the leaves 
can be readily detached by passing the hand down the 
stems and when the base of the stalks. begins to turn 
brown. In France the first crop is cut from June to 
July, and the second from September to October. See 
chapter on culture, in different countries, in Report 7, 
Fiber Investigations series, published by the United 
States Department of Agriculture. 

Yield. — The yield per acre of green stalks with 
leaves has been placed at 8 to 10 tons, or say 25 tons 
for two cuttings under the most favorable circum- 
stances. A calculation based on the above figures 
places the yield of dry fiber per acre at about 1,000 
pounds for two annual cuttings, provided that the 
crop has been properly grown. Mr. Charles Riviere 
(director of the botanic garden at Algiers) states that 
1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) of stalks and leaves 
will yield 520 kilograms (1,144 pounds) of stripped 
stalks; the 520 kilograms of stripped stalks will give 

104 kilograms (228.8 pounds) of dry stalks, and these will yield 20.8 kilograms (45.7 
pounds) of decorticated product (a little less than 20 per cent), and this weight will 
give 11.2 kilograms (24.6 pounds) of degummed filasse. "This is a yield which I have 
proven in all my experiments " (De Landtsheer). This means that a long ton of green 
ramie stalks with leaves will yield 46£ pounds of decorticated fiber, which will give 
25 pounds of degummed fiber, the figures forming a ready basis of calculation when 
the total weight of an acre of stalks is known. 

Extraction of the Fiber.— There are but three ways in which the fiber of China 
grass and ramie may be extracted: By hand stripping, as practiced in China; by 
boiling the stalks in water or solutions, which also requires a certain amount of hand 
manipulation; and by machinery. The stripping by hand can only be made to pay 
where wages are down to the level of those paid in China, and almost the same may 
be said of boiling processes, on account of the after handling necessary to separate 
trash from fiber when the bark separation has been accomplished. As far as the 
Department has knowledge of new machines, this phase of the ramie question is still 



Fig 




—Clusters of flower ra- 
cemes of ramie. 



90 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



unsettled, though progress is being made from year to year, as old machines are 
improved and new ones are devised. For further considerations of this subject, see 
Appendix A. 

DEGUMMING of the Raw FIBER. — Before the fiber can be combed, it is subjected 
to a chemical treatment called degumming. Through the researches of the late M. 
Fremy . member of the French Institute, it has been shown that the gums and cements 
holding together the filaments of ramie are essentially composed of pectose, cutose, 
and vascnlose. while the fiber itself is composed of fibrose, cellulose, and its deriva- 
tives. The theory of degumming, therefore, is to dissolve and wash out the gums 
without attacking the cellulose. In order to eliminate the vascnlose and cutose it 
is necessary to employ alkaline oleates or caustic alkalies, employed under pressure, 
and even bisulphates and hydrochlorates. The gums being dissolved, the epidermis 
is detached and can be mechanically separated from the layers of fiber by washing. 
The larger number of degumming processes in present use embody these general 
principles. 
French experimenters have shown that it costs no more to degum the China grass 

that will fill a kier or tank of certain dimen- 
sions than the charge of simple stripped 
ribbons that will fill the same tank. Yet 
the weight of China grass that will fill this 
kier will be almost double that of the 
stripped bark, and while the kier of China 
grass will show a shrinkage (waste) of only 
30 per cent, let us say, the loss from the 
stripped bark may be 66 per cent. To state 
this differently, a half-ton charge (1,120 
pounds, French) of China grass may give 
775 pounds of degummed fiber, the expense 
of degumming (at $20 per charge, let us 
say) being about 2f cents per pound. Now 
the same kier, when charged with simple 
stripped bark, will hold only 660 pounds 
and give but 264 pounds of degummed 
filasse. But, as the cost of degumming the 
contents of the tank will be the same in 
both instances, the last operation has cost 
74 cents per pound of pure fiber turned out. 
The commercial value of the degummed 
fiber is stated according to French figures 
at about 134 cents per pound. 
Manufacture. — It is not important to 
go into the details of manufacture here. This branch of the industry has passed 
the stage of experiment and is an established fact. At the present time there are 
two filatures or spinning mills in France, two in Germany, one in Austria, one in 
Switzerland, and two English companies, one of which— the Boyle Fiber Syndicate- 
operates at Long Eaton. Probably the most successful spinning mills are those 
operated at Emmendingen, Baden, Germany. 

Uses of the Fiber.— As to the possibilities of ramie manufacture there seems to 
be no limit. Stuff goods for men's wear, upholstery, curtains, hues and embroideries, 
plushes and velvets, stockings, underclothing, table damask, napkins, handkerchiefs, 
shirtings, sheetings, sail duck, carpets, cordage, fishing nets, and yarns and threads 
for various uses not enumerated, bank-note paper, etc. Regarding these various 
uses of ramie fiber in manufacture, however, M. Roux says we should not conclude 
that this textile is destined to be employed so largely. The cost of its preparation 
will always prevent its common use as a substitute for the textiles that can be more 
cheaply grown and prepared. He concludes that while it has brilliancy it has not 




Fig. 35. — Ramie roots before subdivision. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 91 

the elasticity of wool and silk, nor the flexibility of cotton; but it will always be 
preferred for making articles requiring the strength to resist the wear and tear of 
washing or exposure to weather. This facility to imitate all other textiles is one 
of the principal causes which has kept back the development of the ramie industry; 
and if, instead of launching out into a series of experiments, attention had been con- 
centrated upon the exclusive manufacture of those articles to which the properties 
of the plant were peculiarly and naturally adapted, this industry would probably be 
in a more advanced condition than it is at present. The Department of Agriculture 
has held to this position since its work in this field was begun. The folly of build- 
ing up a ramie manufacturing industry on a false basis, that is, employing the textile 
as a substitute for something else, is to be deprecated. The fiber should be used in 
those articles of economic necessity which would appear on the market as ramie, that 
any distinctive merit the textile may possess will become known, not only to the 
ramie trade, but to consumers of the product. 

Authorities. — The publications upon this subject are legion. A few principal 
English references are therefore given, viz : Report on Rhea Fiber ( Watson.), London, 
1875; various articles in Bull. Royal Kew Gardens (Morris.); Die. Ec. Prod. Ind. 
( Watt. ) ; Spon's Enc, pt. 3 ; Reports 1, 2,- and 7, Fiber Investigations series, U. S. Dept. 
Ag. (Dodge.) ; Bulletin of the Experiment Station of Louisiana, No. 32 (Stubbs.), and 
of the California Experiment Station, Nos. 90 and 94. (Hilgard.) See also the French 
publications of Favier, De Landtsheer, Michotte, Roux, and of the Ministry of Agri- 
culture. 

Boehmeria tenacissima. Ramie, or Rhea. 

Tropical variety of B. nivea. Dr. Morris states that the term ramie, or rhea, should 
only be applied to tenacissima, which may be known by its robust habit and larger 
leaves, which are green on both surfaces, and which do not show the silvery white 
under surface characterizing B. nivea, or the plant belonging to a temperate climate. 
For general statements as to cultivation, etc., see the preceding species. 

Bog Moss (See Sphagnum cymbifolium). 

Bois (Fr.).=wood. 

ceip, Ocotea sieberi ; dentelle, Lagetta lintearia; Vome, Guazuma 

ulmifolia; sang, see Croton. 

Bola (Beng.). See Hibiscus Uliaceus. 
Bolobolo (W. Afr.). See Honckenya. 
Bombax ceiba. God-tree. Yaxche. 

Exogen. Halvacew. A large tree. 

This species of Bombax, or silk cotton tree, was considered by A. Smith, in the 
Treasury of Botany, to be the same as Eriodendron anfractuosum. Examples of 
silk cotton labeled Ceiba were received from the Mexican exhibit at the World's 
Columbian Exhibition of 1893. On the authority of Dr. Ernst, of the National 
Museum of Caracas, " Ceiba" fiber is stated to be the product of Bombax ceiba, and 
is applied to the same uses as the silk cottons from allied species. The Peruvian 
name is Huimbaquiro-ceibo. 

Surface Fiber. — Distinguished by its yellowish color and lustrous silky appear- 
ance. Like other seed hairs, it can not be spun unless mixed with other fibers. 
" Used in the manufacture of mattresses, cushions, etc., and the bark is useful for 
cordage" (Dorca). See Ceiba, Bombax malabaricum, and Eriodendron anfractuosum, 
in the alphabetical arrangement. 

Bombax malabaricum. Red Silk Cotton. 

Syn., Salmalia malabarica. 
The Simal Tree of India. Abounds throughout the hotter forests of India and 
Burma; distributed to Java and Sumatra, 



92 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

The fniit of the various species of Bombax is a woody capsule with divisions con- 
taining numerous seeds, each seed surrounded by a mass of silky hairs, which, when 
collected after the opening of the pod, produce the "silk cotton. "' 

Surface Fiber. — The silk-like down, or seed hairs, described above and known 
as Simal cotton may be used as upholstery material, for stuffing pillows, etc. 
The "cotton" is similar, though inferior, to the kapok of commerce derived from 
Eriodendron anfraetuosum, which see. 

Fiber too short and soft to be spun. The smoothness of the cotton prevents cohe- 
sion or felting, and hence in the textile industries could only be used to mix with 
others, imparting a silky gloss to the fabric. It has also been talked of as a paper 
fiber. The inner bark of the tree yields a good fiber suitable for cordage. ( Watt.) 

* Specimens. — Herb. Col. Univ., X. Y. ; Bast fiber, Bot. Mus. Harv. Univ. 

Bombaz mungaba. Silk Cotton of Brazil. 

A tree, 80 to 100 feet, common along the banks of the Amazon and Rio Negro. Its 
fruit is about 8 inches long by 4 wide, and of a clear brick color. The silk cotton 
surrounding the seeds is light brown in color. It has found limited use as a material 
for stuffing cushions. In a catalogue of the products of Brazilian forests, by Jose 
Saldanha da Garna (Phil. Int. Exh., 1876), it is stated that this tree furnishes in its 
bark fibrous material for coarse rope, as well as vegetable silk in its pods. He also 
mentions Eriodendron samanma as "the largest tree of the Amazon, the fruit con- 
taining a silk much sought for mattresses." 

A species of Bombax silk-cotton was received from the Venezuelan Department, 
"W. C. E., 1893, named Sibucara wool, and another example was labeled "Lima del 
Tambor, the silky wool which envelops the seeds of Bombax cumanense. It can not 
be spun, but is used for making pillows." {Ernst.) 

Bombax pubescens. The E^iBiRA-GTJASstJ. 

This is also called the Embir-ussii in Brazil. It is found in the province of Minas 
Geraes, and attains a height of 25 to 30 feet. 

Bast Fiber. — This species has a tough, fibrous bark, which yields quite a strong 
fiber, resembling jute in color, and very useful for making ropes and cordage. A 
surface fiber is also obtained from its seed capsules, much employed in Sao Paulo for 
filling bolsters and mattresses. The tree is found in secluded places and blossoms in 
the winter. 

Liifgren mentions another species (B. gracilipes), which is found in brambly locali- 
ties along the river banks, and which also supplies fiber. 

Bombay Aloe (see Agave vivipara). 

Bombonaje (S. Am.). See Carludovica paJmata. 

Booba Palm (Braz.). See Iriartea exorrliiza. 

Borassus flabellifer. Palmyra Palm. 

Endogen. Pal ma. Tall palm. 

Native names. — Tal, Tari, etc. (Hind.); Tal-gas (Ceyl.) ; Tan. htan, (Burm.), 
and others. In west Africa known as the Black Run Palm. 
Found in Ceylon and the Indian Archipelago ; throughout tropical India, in Bengal, 
and Northwest Provinces. Cultivated in Ceylon. Also found in tropical west Africa. 
Structural Fiber. — This is obtained from the base of the petioles, or the sheath- 
ing leafstalks. It is stiff, harsh, wiry, and resembles the bass and piassaba fibers of 
commerce, particularly the Brazilian forms. A trade name is bassine. 

It came into notice as a commercial article in 1891, when the high prices of pias- 
saba induced the introduction of substitutes. At that time even split rattan, stained 
black, was requisitioned as a brush fiber. Palmyra liber has steadily increased in 
quantity, and, contrary to what was at first anticipated, it has also risen in value. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 93 

Palmyra now has practically taken the place of west African bass. The latter on 
the 16th of September, 1895, was "dull, business small, £14 to £23 per ton." Pal- 
myra fiber on the other hand was: "Good, £26 to £34; medium, £22 to £25; com- 
mon, £15 to £19 per ton" (Dr. D. Morris). 

The fiber extracted from the leafstalks is used for rope and twine making, and 
may also be used for paper. This fiber is strong and wiry, and is about 2 feet long. 
In Ceylon it is extracted and the ropes and string largely used for cattle yokes and 
other agricultural purposes are made of it. In Madras it is also made into rope and 
twine. In Bengal the trees are too scattered to admit of an extended trade in this 
fiber. The long cord-like and dark-colored fibrovascular bundles are carefully 
extracted, however, while preparing dugouts, etc. By the fishermen these are made 
into invisible fish traps. (Watt.) Employed in the United States as a brush mate- 
rial, and imported in bundles of prepared fiber. 

Every part of the plant is employed in one way or another, some 800 uses having 
been enumerated. Further accounts in the Die. Ec. Prod. Ind. ; Cantor Lectures, 
London, 1895. 

* Specimens of the fibers were received from the Ceylon court, W. C.E., 1893. 

Bowstring hemp (see Sansevieria). 

Brachystegia, spp. Uganda Bark Cloth Trees. 

Exogens. Leguminosw. Trees, 20-50 feet. 

Native names: The several species are known variously as Mecomba, Matondo, 
Motondo, M'Chenga, and others. 

Found in the Uganda country, Africa, several species being referred to in the Bul- 
letin of the Royal Kew Gardens for 1892, from which this account is reproduced. 
The trees produce a bark cloth. 

Bast Fiber. Messrs. Speke and Grant, in their expedition to the sources of the 
Nile, 1860-1863, made some interesting notes on the preparation and uses of cloth 
from this source. They say of Brachystegia spico?formis Benth., that it is a light, 
graceful tree of 20 to 40 feet high, common in rich forests, and is known in the 
Robeho Mountains, Zanzibar, under the name of "M'chenga" or " M'nenga" the bark 
of which is made into kilts, cloths, bandboxes, huge grain stores, matches, roofing 
for camp huts, etc. ; they also add that a blood-red juice exudes on cutting the bark. 
These same explorers collected slight herbarium material at Keegwah, in lat. 5° 5' 
S., of what is so far determined as Brachystegia tamarindoides Welw. var. ? With the 
following note: "Native name i Mecombo, 1 a first-class tree, as it has so many uses. 
Tree 50 feet high; long, naked trunk 9 feet in circumference. Foliage deep green. 
The wood is considered good for building. Its bark, after being boiled and prepared, 
is made into white sheets of cloths worn by the natives at 10° S. They also make 
canoes, boxes, matches, and ropes from it. Its honey is considered very superior in 
flavor and whiteness. First met with 30 miles from the sea ; afterwards in the interior 
it was frequent. It is so plentiful at 6° S. lat. that our temporary huts were roofed 
with its bark, and my plants were protected by planks of its bark, which answered 
admirably, being light and stiff." During Livingston's Zambesi expedition, in 1860, 
Sir John Kirk collected specimens of Brachystegia appendiculata Benth., a tree of 20 
to 40 feet high in the highlands of the Batoka country, where it is known by the 
name of "Motondo" (Setoka), the seeds being eaten by the natives; he also collected 
the same species near Muata Manja, 14° 19' S. lat., and states that the fibrous bark 
is made into cloth by being beaten out. According to Dr. Meller, this tree is known 
as " Chenga" near Zomba. The herbarium contains a specimen of Brachystegia longu 
folia Benth., collected by Mr. J. Buchanan in the Shire highlands, and bears the 
following label: "Njombo. Bark-cloth tree, wood very soft." Another herbarium 
specimen collected by Sir John Kirk near Kusuma, on the river Shire, is labeled 
Brachystegia, sp. nov., and is described as being a good-sized tree with a fibrous bark, 
which is used for cloth. 



94 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Brecco (Tuscan). See Chrysopogon gryllus. 

Bricks, Ancient Clay. Made with stems of Poa abyssinica. 

Brazil-nut Tree (see LlerthoUetia). 

Broad-leaved flax lily (Tasm.). DianeUa latifolia. 

Brome (Fr.). Abroma augusta. 

Bromelia spp. 

A genus of plants having very short stems and densely packed, rigid, lance-shaped 
leaves, the margins of which are armed with sharp spines. They are natives of 
tropical America, though they have heen distributed to the East Indies, Africa, and 
other countries, several species being cultivated as greenhouse plants. 

While many species are known to produce fiber, three or four are regarded valuable 
as fiber plants, among them B.pinguin being the best known, v> hile all are interesting. 
"B.fastuosa, commonly cultivated in greenhouses in England, yields fiber in New 
Granada" (Dr. ITorris), and Spon states that B. sagenaria, 1 known in Brazil as the 
Curratow, is worthy of cultivation for its fiber. In portions of Mexico a Bromelia, 
cultivated as a textile plant, yields a fiber which is described as very fine, from 6 to 
8 feet in length, and from its fineness and toughness commonly used in belt-making 
works. It also finds application in the manufacture of many articles, such as bag- 
ging for baling cotton, wagon sheets, carpets, etc., besides forming a valuable material 
for making cordage, nets, hammocks, and similar articles of common use. Beautiful 
examples of Bromelia fiber were brought back from Santo Domingo in 1871 by Dr. C. C. 
Parry, and at the W, C. E. many unnamed fibers of great length and fineness were 
shown which doubtless were derived from species of this genus. There is great con- 
fusion regarding the species of Bromelia yielding fiber, which can only be cleared 
up by studying the plants where they grow and extracting the fiber from the differ- 
ent species. 

Bromelia argentina. CaraguatX. 

Endogen. Bromeliaceo?. Aloe-like leaf cluster. 

Allied to the wild pineapple, Bromelia pinguin. Abounds in Paraguay and in 
northwestern Argentina. "Very abundant in the Gran Chaco and Missiones terri- 
tories, Corrientes, and Santa Fe. Two forms are recognized, Caraguata ibira and the 
Caraguatd de agua." (Xiedeidcin.) 

Structural Fiber. — Soft and silky, obtained in lengths of 4 to 6 feet, medium 
strength, resembles pineapple fiber. The production is limited to native uses, such 
as for rude cordage, sacks, etc. There is no doubt that with proper machinery the 
preparation of this fiber might become a commercial industry in the countries where 
grown. I have met with it in South American exhibits at international expositions, 
and the samples secured were remarkably fine, particularly those from Argentina, 
where two species of Bromelia are thus employed. See also Bromelia serra, or the 
eli ag nar. 

In the year 1870 Messrs. Branlio Artecona and Louis L. Lenguas made experiments 
with machinery that they established in the department of Arroyos y Esterios, Para- 
guayan Republic, having obtained from the Government a concession for the working 
of this product freely for the space of fifteen years in all fiscal lands, and to export 
the same when manufactured free of duty. This industry did not give satisfactory 
results, owing to the inexperience of those in charge and to the imperfection of the 
machinery. After several fruitless attempts they retired and their concession lapsed. 
In 1889-90 Mr. Artecona again organized the same industry with modern machinery, 
and took a contract from the company 'Tejidora/ of Buenos Ayres, for all he could 
remit. He remitted altogether 400 tons, and the result of the sale might have been 

*£. sagenaria is now referred to Anancu bracteatu*. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 95 

remunerative if ne ±iad not committed the fault of employing inexpert hands ; he 
spent his capital in useless experiments, and again suspended operations. (Kew 
Bull., September, 1892). 

Bromelia karatas (see Karatas plumieri). 

Bromelia pinguin. The Wild Pineapple. Pinguin. 

Abounds in the West Indies and Central America, British Guiana, and Venezuela. 
Common in Yucatan; known as Chom. The species is common on the rocky hills of 
the West Indies, and particularly in Jamaica, where the plants are used for hedges 
and fences. It is abundant in Trinidad, where it grows on the poorer soils, the leaves 
often reaching a length of 5 or G feet. 

In the literature of the fiber-producing species of Bromelia in tropical America the 
greatest confusion exists, and particularly in relation to the fiber of this species and 
B. sylvestris. I have myself been led into error regading B. sylvestris, basing my 
published statements on the literature of the subject of thirty or forty years ago, 
including the communications which appear in the earlier publications of the 
Department of Agriculture, and upon the records accompanying the specimens them- 
selves received through the Smithsonian Institution, and from early correspondents 
of the Department, together with documents and specimens received at a compara- 
tively recent period. Becoming convinced of the confusion regarding B. sylvestris, a 
communication on the subject was addressed to Dr. Morris, of Kew, who says in 
reply : 

"lam afraid the investigation of the fiber-yielding members of the Bromeliacece is a 
very difficult question. We know really very little of the species yielding fibers in 
tropical America beyond two or three of the most common of them. B. sylvestris 
has been confounded by many writers as a form of the common pineapple. Hence, 
fiber labeled B. sylvestris may after all be nothing but pineapple fiber. The true B. 
sylvestris Willd, figured in the Bot, Mag., t. 2392, as the ' narrow-leafed wild pine- 
apple,' probably does yield fiber, but it is impossible to say without careful study 
of the plant itself whether it is the form of the common pineapple or true B. sylves- 
tris. The wild pineapple fiber of British Honduras, which is mentioned in my book 
as Bromelia pita is probably Karatas plumieri yielding silk grass. The former must be 
dropped. It has no meaning except as a synonym of the latter." 

B. pinguin is everywhere common in the West Indies, yet only one or two speci- 
mens from the West Indies in the Department collection are labeled pinguin, while 
many are named sylvestris. A recent specimen from Trinidad, marked B. sylvestris, 
and which also bears the name pinquine, is probably from this species. See further 
remarks under B. sylvestris. 

Botanical description. — B. pinguin Linn., Sp. Plant., 408 (Dill. Elth., t. 240, fig. 
311; Trew Ehret., t. 51); Red. Lil., t. 396. Agallostacliys pinguin Beer. Karatas 
penguin Miller. Ananas pinguin Gaert. Karatas plumieri Devan, non Morren — Acaules- 
cent. Leaves 100 or more in a rosette, ensiform, stiffly erect in the lower half, 
reaching a length of 5 to 6 feet, 1£ to 2 inches broad at the middle, tapering gradu- 
ally to the point, green and glabrous on the face, thinly white-lepidote on the back, 
armed with very large-toothed pungent brown prickles. Peduncle stout, stiffly 
erect, about a foot long, its leaves often bright red. Panicle dense, stiffly erect, 1 to 
2 feet long; axis and branches densely mealy ; branch-bracts oblong, pale, lower with 
a rigid spine-edged cusp ; lower branches 3 to 4 inches long, bearing 6 to 8 sessile 
flowers; flower-bracts, minute, ovate. Ovary cylindrical, very pubescent, about an 
inch long; sepals nearly as long, with a densely matted tip. Petals reddish, densely 
matted at the tip with white tomentum, about 1£ inches longer than the calyx. 
Berry ovoid, yellowish brown, 1 inch diameter. {Dr. Baker, .) 

Structural Fiber.— In the Kew Bulletin for April, 1887, page 8, the fiber of this 
species is thus referred to: The fiber of the Jamaica pinquin {Bromelia pinguin L.) 
would appear not to be of high value. The plant covers hundreds of acres in the 



96 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

plains and lowlands of Jamaica, and an effort was made some time ago to prepare the 
fiber for commercial purposes. The report of the brokers upon a sample of 90 pounds 
was as follows : "A long, towzeled, weak fiber, of bad color, coarse, no strength, and 
only fit for breaking up. Similar to St. Helena hemp tow, but not so good. We 
should think £12 to £10 per ton the utmost value." Several samples of this pinguin 
fiber, from Jamaica and elsewhere, cleaned both by hand and by machine, are to be 
seen in the Kew Mus., Xo. 2. 

* Specimens of the fiber were secured from the exhibit of British Guiana, W. C. E., 
1893. " Used for commercial purposes only to a slight extent. Probably used for 
cordage by natives employed in making cables and large ropes for use on the rivers." 
(Quelch.) The Kew Bulletin for September, 1892, states that the fiber of the pinguin 
was carefully investigated by the botanical department in Jamaica in 1884. The 
plant covers hundreds of acres in the island, and it Avould readily support a large 
industry. Great difficulty was, however, experienced in extracting the fiber by 
machinery, without maceration, and the results were by no means satisfactory. 
Several samples were forwarded to London and to Xew York for the opinion of brok- 
ers, and the London reports were as follows : " Poor, dull fiber, gummy, fair strength, 
value about £20. Almost unsalable in the form sent, not well dressed, not good 
color, and in some parts rather tender. If this was better dressed it might have a 
sale, but in the present form, when so gummy, it is difficult to form an estimate 
of it." 

Spon refers to the fiber "yielded by the leaves of B. pigna (pinguin), a native of 
the Philippine Islands, being woven into a most delicate textile fabric, known as 
pigna cloth, from which the celebrated manila handkerchiefs are made;" and M. 
Perroutel is said to have considered the pineapple cloth of the Philippines the product 
of a distinct species, which he called B. pigna, but this has been determined to be 
the cultivated pineapple, Ananas satira, in a semiwild state. Specimens of " guamara" 
fiber were secured from the Mexican exhibit, W. C. E., 1893. Dr. Ernst refers gua- 
mara to B. pinguin, though the name has also been given to Karatas plumieri. 

Bromelia serra. Chaguar. 

This species abounds in the northwestern portions of Argentina. The fiber is 
chiefly used by the Indians, who manufacture it into cords, hammocks, sacks, etc., 
known as chaguar. In the Kew Mus. is shown a cuirass of chaguar fiber made by the 
Mataeo Indians of Argentina. "When worn by these people it is padded before 
and behind with cotton from the fruit of the Yachan, Chorisia insignis. By rolling 
themselves in water, the fiber swells and the whole becomes arrow proof." (Off. 
Guide Kew Mus.) 

Bromelia sylvestris. 

A form of ' ' wild pineapple " found in the West Indies and Central America. While 
many examples of its fiber have been sent to the Department from time to time, spe- 
cifically named B. sylrestris, I have serious doubts as to the correctness of the labeling 
in a majority of instances, for they not only differ widely when compared, but the 
statements concerning them give evidence of error and confusion. 

Botanical description. — B. sylrcstris Willd. ; Sims in Bot. Mag., t. 2392. Agallos- 
tachys sylvestris Beer. — Acaulescent. Leaves ensiform, rigid, 3 to 4 feet long, H inches 
broad low down, narrowed gradually to the point, bright green on the face, thinly 
albo-lepidote on the back, armed with strong hooked prickles. Peduncle a foot or 
more long, its leaves reflexing, the upper bright red. Inflorescence a narrow panicle 
with short spaced-out corymbose branches, all subtended by bright-red bracts, the 
lower with rigid spine-edged tips. Ovary pubescent, cylindrical-trigonous, about 
an inch long ; sepals nearly as long as the ovary. Petals reddish, not matted at the 
tip, protruding one-fourth of an inch from the calyx. (Dr. Baker.) 

Structural Fiber. — Occurs in various forms, the age of the plant making a differ- 
ence in the appearance and quality of the fiber. Dr. Morris states that "there are 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 97 

several samples of a wild pineapple (Bromelia sylvestris "Willd.) from the West Indies 
and Central America at Ivew, but there is no record of their commercial value." A 
sample sent to Kew from Trinidad in 1887, supposed to he from this species, was 
reported upon as follows: " Xot in commercial use, hut destined, we think, to a suc- 
cessful future; tine, soft, supple fiber, strong and good color, ample length, (worth) 
say £30 per ton and upwards.'* 

A beautiful sample of liher secured by me from the Mexican exhibit at the Paris 
Exposition of 1889, and labeled B. sylvestris, was very long, creamy white, fine, soft, 
and silky. A memorandum secured with the sample reads as follows: " Grows wild 
in a zone extending from Tustepec in the State of Oaxaca to Acayucan in Vera Cruz. 
Employed in making hunting hags or game pouches and fine woven textures. For- 
merly it was used for the fine sewing of shoes." This sample is finer, softer, and of 
a better color than any other samples labeled B. sylvestris in the Department collec- 
tion. Regarding the correctness of the identification, however, nothing authorita- 
tive can be stated. 

The name "silk grass," and "silk grass of Honduras*' has been given to this species 
(in the books), though "silk grass "has also been given to other species, and even to the 
fiber of Agaves. Dr. Morris writes me that a wild form of the common pineapple, 
Ananas sativa, growing at Kew, yields a fiber called "silk-grass fiber" by the Eng- 
lish. This plant is the "Growia" of British Guiana (see also Krowa in this catalogue). 
He further states that the name silk grass is applied indiscriminately to the fiber of 
the common pineapple, of a Bromelia, a Karatas, and also of Furcrcea cubensis. The 
name silk grass therefore serves no purpose of identification in connection with the 
fiber of B. sylvestris. 

Economic literature. — In the monthly report of the United States Department 
of Agriculture for 1869, pages 232-233, there is a communication from Hon. J. McLeod 
Murphy, which, when sent to the Department, was "accompanied with three skeins 
of the istle fiber, Bromelia sylvestris," etc., and also with a package of the hackled 
fiber and small samples of fishing-tackle. In this communication the leaf is described 
as "being shaped like a sword, its edges armed with prickles similar, in fact, to the 
weapon formed from itzli. or obsidian, used by the Aztecs; hence the term." It was 
said to grow almost exclusively on the southern shore of the Mexican Gulf, between 
Alvarado and Tabasco, extending as far inland as the northern slopes of the dividing 
ridge which separates the Atlantic from the Pacific. The leaves were 5 to 6 feet in 
length. In the monthly report of the Department for August and September, 1870, 
page 351, there is another communication from the same source which was sent to the 
Department with a package of dried leaves "sun dried by Squier," and a hank of 
the fiber. These specimens are still in the collection of the Department ; the leaves 
are without spines, though these may have been cut off. 

In Squier's Tropical Fibers (Xew York, 1861) there is an account of the "Bromelia 
sylvestris, or wild pineapple, the istle of Mexico, but known as pita and pinuella in 
Central America and Panama, and in the West Indies as Bromelia ping uin or penguin, 
(which) can hardly be said to rank second to the lienequens in economic importance." 
This is reproduced in the report of the Flax and Hemp Commission of 1863. Squier 
also quotes Major Barnard, U. S. A., in a report on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, who, 
speaking of the " istle,'' says: "Among the spontaneous products of the Isthmus is 
the Bromelia pita or ixtle, which differs in some regard from the Agave americana of 
Europe, "etc. Further he quotes from a paper read by Chief Justice Temple, of Belize, 
or British Honduras, in the year 1857, which appeared in the journal of the Royal 
Society of Arts, Vol. V. p. 125. An extract is here reproduced : 

"Amoug other objects of interest he exhibited a quantity of the fiber of the plant 
under notice as well as of the Agave sisalana." Of the former, or Bromelia sylvestris, 
he said : " The plant called Bromelia pita, istle by the Mexicans, and silk grass by the 
Creoles of British Honduras, grows spontaneously in the greatest abundance. The 
leaves are of a soft, dark green, from 5 to 15 feet long and from li to 4 inches wide. 
12247—^0. 9 7 



98 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Along the edge of the leaf, about 6 inches apart, are short, sharp, curved thorns. 
"When the plant is cultivated these gradually disappear.*' 

Capt. A. L. Varney, in a paper on bristle fibers (Report of the Chief of Ordnance, 
1883, p. 161), refers to the statements of Squier and others, and, commenting on the 
confusion that exists as to the names of the fibers of the Agaves and Bromelias, says: 
'•Most writers, however, refer to the ' title,' l ixtle,' or ' it:lc' as the fiber of Bromelia 
sylvestris," which he regards as the source of Tampico. He then gives a plate illus- 
tracion of " Bromelia sylvcstris or penquin (sic), the wild Pineapple." 

The writer also fell iuto error in his " Report on vegetable fibers," in Annual 
Report of the Department of Agriculture for 1879, the statements being reproduced 
in Xo. 6, Xew Commercial Plants and Drugs, by Thos. Cbristy (London, 1882). And 
the confusion is still further added to in the writer's treatment of B. sylvestris in Xo. 
5. Fiber Investigations series, A Report on the Leaf Fibers of the United States (1893). 
In Bernardin's Catalogue the species is treated thus : "IztU, Mexique ; pita, pinuella, 
Am. cent.: Penguin, Ind. oc. ; Silk grass, Honduras Brittanique. Bromelia Karat a 8 
en parait une variete." In the Manual Hoepli B. sylvestris is stated to be found in Brazil 
and Guiana. "The fiber is white, lustrous, and fine, from which is manufactured 
exclusively articles de luxe." (Savorgnan.) 

See Istle and Agave heteracaniha, in this catalogue, and also refer to Bromelia pin- 
guin, above, and to the note by Dr. Morris on Bromelia pita, under B. pinguin; see 
Karatas plumieri. 

Broom (see Cytisus scoparius). 

Broom corn (see Andropogon sorghum vulgaris). 

Broom hemp (see C rotatoria). 

Broom palm (see Attalea and Thrinax). 

Broom root (Mex.). See Epicampes. 

Broom, Spanish (see Spartium). 

Broomstick grass (see Aristida setacea). 

Broussonetia papyrifera. Paper Mulberry. 

Exogen. Moracece. A small tree. 

Native names. — Kodzu and A-ozo (Jap.); hoa-ko-chu (China); ken dang (Java); 
ma-lo (Fiji Is.). The fabric made from its bark, by beating, is known on the 
Pacific Islands as tappa, tapa, and kapa. 

Native of China, Japan, Siam, Polynesian Islands, and Burma. Introduced into 
other countries. (See fig. 36.) 

Fiber. — The fibrous substance of the bark pulps readily, and is therefore esteemed 
in Japan as paper stock. In Burma iti s used for papier mache. " The fiber is strong 
and fine, and has the great merit of requiring little bleach*' {Watt). Beautiful 
.specimens of the fiber were received from the Japanese court, W. C. E., 1893, and 
are now in the collection of this Department. 

It is said that the finest and whitest cloth and mantles worn by Sandwich Island- 
ers and '• the principal people of Otaheite," are made from the bast of this tree. It 
dyes readily, particularly in red, and takes a good color. Tapa cloth is also printed, 
a large sheet from the Fiji Islands, in possession of the Department, being stamped 
or rudely printed in black, in large checks or squares, resembling the patchwork 
of a quilt. The manner in which the fiber is beaten out by the native women of 
( >taheite is very curious. The cleansed fibers are spread out on plantain leaves to 
the length of about 11 or 12 yards; these are placed on a regular or even surface of 
about a foot in breadth. Two or three layers are thus placed one upon the other, 
much attention being paid to making the cloth of uniform thickness: if thinner in 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



99 



one place than another a thicker piece is laid over this place, when the next layer is 
laid down. The cloth is left to dry during the night, and a part of the moisture 
being evaporated, the several layers are found to adhere together so that the whole 
mass may he lifted from the ground in one piece. It is then laid on a long smooth 
plank of wood prepared for the purpose, and heaten with a wooden instrument ahout 
a foot long and 3 inches square. Each of the four sides has longitudinal grooves of 
different degrees of fineness, the depth and width of those on one side heing suffici- 
ent to receive a small pack thread, the other sides heing liner in a regular gradation, 
so that the grooves of the last would scarcely admit anything coarser than sewing 
silk. A long handle is attached, and the cloth is first heaten with its coarser side, 
and spreads very fast under the strokes ; it is then heaten with the other sides suc- 
cessively, and is then considered fit for use. Sometimes, however, it is made still 
thinner hy heating, after it has heen several times douhled, with the finest side of 




Leaf of Bro'ussonetia papyrifera. 



the mallet, and it can thus he attenuated until it becomes as fine as muslin. Should 
the cloth break under this process, it is easily repaired by laying on a piece of bark, 
which is made to adhere by means of a glutinous substance made from the arrow- 
root, and this is done with such nicety that the break can hardly be detected. The 
King of the Friendly Islands had a piece made which was 120 feet wide and 2 miles 
long, a part of which is now in the Ke w Mus. 

W. D. Alexander makes statements regarding the manufacture and uses of the 
Kapa cloth of the Hawaiian Islanders as follows: "This was made of the bark of 
the paper mulberry or wauke (Broussonetia papyrifera) and of the mamake (Pipturus 
albidus), which were cultivated with much care. Its manufacture was left entirely 
to the women, who peeled off strips of the bark and scraped off the outer coat with 
shells. After being soaked a Avhile in water each strip was laid upon a smooth log 
and beaten with a square-grooved mallet of hard wood until it resembled thick. 



100 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

flexible paper. The strips were united by overlaying the edges and beating them 
together. There were several qualities of kapa, some so tine as to resemble muslin, 
and other kinds very thick and tough, -which appeared like -wash leather. It was 
bleached white or stained with vegetable or mineral dyes, impressed with bamboo 
stamps in a great variety of patterns and colors, and glazed with a kind of gum or 
resin. Nothing like a loom was known in Polynesia. The dress of the women con- 
sisted of the pa-u, a wrapper composed of five thicknesses of kapa, about 4 yards 
long and 3 or feet wide, passed several times around the waist and extending below 
the knee, while that of the men was the malo or girdle, which was about a foot wide 
and 3 or 4 yards long. The kihei or mantle, about 6 feet square, was occasionally 
worn by both sexes. It was worn by the men by tying two corners of the same side 
together so that the knot rested on one shoulder, and by the women as a long shawl. 
In general, this paper cloth would not bear washing and lasted only a few weeks. 
The kapa moe or sleeping lapa was made of five layers of common Jcapa, 3 or 4 yards 
square. The outside piece (lilohana) was stained or painted with vegetable dyes.'' 

In Japan a kind of cloth is made from paper derived from this tree. It is cut into 
thin strips, which are twisted together and spooled, to be used in the woof of the 
fabric, while the warp is composed of silk or hemp. About 250 pieces only are 
manufactured at the principal manufacturing place. The paper mulberry grows 
everywhere in Japan, and is a valuable tree as furnishing the hast from which a 
large portion of the Japanese paper is made. The plants are reproduced in quantity 
by subdividing the roots, and in two or three years are ready to he cut. This work 
is done in November, and the branches (7 to 10 feet long) are made up iuto bundles 
3 or 4 feet in length, and steamed, so that the bark is loosened and can be more readily 
stripped off. This is washed, dried, and then again soaked in water and scraped 
with a knife to remove the outer skin, which is used for inferior kinds of paper. 
The bast when cleaned is washed, repeatedly kneaded in clean water, and rinsed. 
It is then bleached in the sun until sufficiently white, after which it is boiled in a 
lye, chiefly of buckwheat ashes, to remove all gummy matters. The fibers are now 
readily separated, and are transformed into pulp by beating with wooden mallets. 
The pulp is mixed in vats with the necessary quantity of water, to which is added 
a milky substance prepared from rice flour and the gummy infusion of the bark of 
Hydrangea paniculata, or the root of Hibiscus manihot. The couches on which the 
paper sheets are produced are made of bamboo, split into very thin sticks, and 
united in paralleled lines by silk or hemp threads, so as to form a kind of mat. This 
is laid upon a wooden frame and the apparatus dipped into the vat. raised, and 
shaken so as to spread the pulp evenly, after which the cover is first removed, then 
the bamboo couch with the sheet of paper, and in returning the operative lays the 
sheet upon the others. When a number of sheets have thus been prepared they are 
pressed to exclude the water, and afterwards spread out with a brush upon boards 
and allowed to dry. The sheets are only about 2 feet in length, but sometimes sheets 
10 feet long are produced. (From a report by the Japanese commissioners to the 
Phil. Int. Exh., 1876.) 

The topographical features fit for the plant is a sloping place facing southeast, so 
as to receive the full light of the sun and protected from high wind. The suitable 
soil is gravel loam, or vegetable mold or yellow loam with some gravel. The prop- 
agation is done either by planting divisions of old roots, layerings, cuttings, or 
seeds; but the most common method is the first mentioned. This is performed in 
March, digging off young shoots from the old stubble, which is well manured, once 
in the previous winter and again early in the spring, and the land is hand hoed at 
the same time. The young shoots, with some rootlets, are cut to the length of about 
1 foot and planted in rows of about 2i feet wide, at an interval of about 3 inches, 
leaving the top about 2 inches above the ground, manured with some liquid manure, 
and covered with straw to prevent burning by the sun. And when the buds come out 
at the beginning of June the covering of straw is taken off and watering is repeated 
several times according to need. "Weak branches, which come out in abundance, are 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 101 

taken off. leaving at last only one vigorous shoot. The young plants are carefully 
dug out after the leaves have fallen and heeled in temporarily in some place till 
the time for transplanting. Xo particular preparation of the soil is necessary 
where they are to he replanted besides digging holes to receive the young plants, 
which are usually transplanted at any time from the end of November to the begin- 
ning of January, or beginning of February to the end of March. At the time of 
transplanting, the holes previously dug are partly filled with farmyard manure or 
with some oil cake, covered slightly with earth, over which the seed plants are set 
one by one. the remaining open part of the holes is filled up with earth lightly 
trodden in around the plants. The seed plants required for an acre vary very much ; 
but usually range between 1,500 and 4,500. Manures used after transplanting are 
commonly farmyard manure, grasses, tree leaves, night soil, dried fish, etc., and 
they are placed around the plants in spring. Weeding should be done many times, 
especially, in the first year, and weak shoots pruned from time to time. The yield 
from one acre varies according to the time of transplanting, but the average of five 
years is estimated at 300 to 600 kilograms of raw bark. As the plants are cut, they 
are steamed and the bark is stripped off before cooling and dried by hanging on 
bamboo frames under the roof. The dried bark is now steeped in water and when 
softened rubbed violently in order to remove the exterior coarse and woody part 
which is again cleaned off by means of a small knife, then well dried, and is now 
ready for market. (Desc. Cat. Ag. Prod. Jap., YV\ C. E., 1893.) 

Brown Hemp (Ind.). Grotalaria juncea. 

Buaze (So. Afr.). See Securidaca longepedunculata. 

Bullrush (or Bulrush). Scirpus lacustris. 

Also Typha latifolia, the cat-tail flag. Lesser . Typha angustifolia; of 

the Nile, Cyperus papyrus. 

Bun ochra (Ind.). See Urena lobata and Triumfetta rhomboidea. 

Bun-pat or Bhunji-pat. (Beng.) Gorcliorus olitorius. 

Buphane disticha. 

An amaryllid found in south Africa, remarkable in producing a bulb as large as a 
man's head, supporting 100 or more flowers. This bulb yields a fiber, examples of 
which are shown in the Kew Botanical Museum. 

Burdock, Common (see Arctium lappa). 

Burity (see Mauritia). 

Burn-nose Bark (Jam.). Daplinopsis tinifoUa. 

Buscola, or Bruscola Baskets, of Italy; made from the "Giunco 
marino." See J uncus acutus and Lygeum spartum. 

Bussu (see Manicaria mccifera). 
Butea frondosa. Butea Gum. 

Exogen. Zeguminosa? A tree. 

Found throughout India and Burma. Yields the gum known as Bengal Jeino. The 
flowers furnish the testi dye. 

Bast Fiber.— "'It yields a tough fiber said to be useful for paper making and for 
cordage; also the young roots yield a strong fiber known as chhoel. This is made 
into ropes in Chutia Xagpur, Central Provinces, Oudh, Rajputana, and Bombay hill 
tracts, etc. ; it is also used in some parts of India for making native sandals. The 
roots and young branches of B. superla, another Indian species (also mentioned by 



102 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Savorgnan,, aftbrds a strong and useful fiber prepared in Chutia Nagpur, the Central 
Provinces, and Rajputana.'' ( Watt.) 

Cabbage palm, of the West Indies, Oreodoxa oleracea; of Australia, 
Livistona australis. 

Cabbage palmetto (Fla). Sabal palmetto. 

Cabo negro. Caryota unusta, or Arenga saccharifera. 

Cabouja, or Cabuja (W. Intl.). See Furcrcca. 

Cabulla (Cent. Am.). Agave rigida sisalana ; of Costa Rica, Fur- 
crcca tuber 08a. 

Cabuya (Cent. Am.). Agave rigida. 
Cactus. See Opuntia. 

The sisal hemp plant has sometimes been called cactus erroneously. See Agave. 

Cadhi (Arab.). See Pandanus. 
Cadillo (Venez.). TJrena lobata. 
Cadillo negro. Triumfetta. 
Caesar weed (Fla.). TJrena lobata. 
Caffir cotton (Afr.). See Ipomcea digitata. 
Cajun (Cent. Am.). Furcrcca cubensia. 
Caladium giganteum. 

A genus of the Aracea. This species, now Colocasia indica, is found in Guiana. 
Savorgnan mentions that the fiber from the stems is adapted for paper stock. Dorca 
mentions in his textile list a Peruvian species, C. pertusum, known as Chuneu, but 
does not state how it is used. 

Calamus rotang. The Rattan Cane. 

Endogen. Palmce. A scandent palm. 
Known in Ceylon as the ela-weivel. 

Nearly 200 species of this genus inhabit tropical and subtropical Asia, Africa, and 
Australia. C. rotang is found in India, Burma, and Ceylon, and yields the best rattan 
canes of commerce. Split into strips, it is woven or plaited into chairs and fur- 
niture, baskets, etc. " It is made into ropes, or is stretched, entire, across rivers as 
the main supports of cane suspension bridges." 

Good examples of these may be seen in the Khasia and northern Cachar hills. On 
the march from Silchar to Manipur, for example, three have to be crossed, namely, 
over the Muku, the Barak, and the Irang rivers. Within the past few years, owing 
to heavy traffic, these have been strengthened by one or two wire ropes, but cane 
bridges are by no means unfrequent in the mountainous tracts of the eastern side of 
India, and cane ladders are not uncommon in the south on the Animalis. Carefully 
selected canes, 300 or 400 feet long, constitute the chains, and the bridges of that 
length are often thrown across rocky valleys 50 feet above the water. This height 
is necessary in order to be above the water level in the sudden rising of the rivers 
which takes place during the rains. 

Ropes are regularly made in China by splitting the rattan and twisting the long 
fibers thus prepared into cordage of any desired thickness. In the Kew Mus. speci- 
mens of cutis, and an undershirt, are shown from China, made of the split stems of 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 103 

this or allied species. C. rotang also supplies the material for Malacca canes. " They 
are imported in large quantities from Siak, and are valued according to the length of 
their internodes, the longest heing used for walking sticks and the shorter ones for 
the handles of chimney-sweepers' brushes, etc." (Off. Guide Kew Mus.) 

The European uses of canes are even more varied than the Asiatic. They are 
valued on account of their lightness, flexibility, and strength. They are extensively 
used as walking sticks, umbrella handles, and even as a substitute for whalebone 
for umbrella and parasol ribs, each set of such ribs costing only from Id. to 2|d. 
instead of 2s. 6d. to 3s. for whalebone. Cane is also extensively employed in saddlery 
and harness, and a wickerwork of rattan is now used in the construction of the 
German military helmet, which is said to make it sword proof. But the chief pur- 
pose to which cane is put in Europe is in furniture and basket making. 

In the United States rattan is used in a great variety of manufactures, among 
which may be enumerated chairs and other articles of furniture, chair seating, baby 
carriage bodies, baskets, floor mattings, brooms, corset stays, whips, and other uses 
of minor importance. 

Calamus rudentum. The Ma-wewel. 

Several species of rattan palms abound in Ceylon. Among the most common 
are C. rudentum, C. pacnystemonus, and C. radiatus (the Icuhul-wel) . 

These palms are common throughout the damp forests of the island up to 3,500 
feet altitude. In some districts they occur in great abundance, affording a con- 
spicuous feature in the forests, their tall feathery heads overhanging the highest 
trees, while their powerful stems, often 200 feet in length, appear like green cables 
coiling about the ground in curious contortions and disorder. The first two species 
named are very largely used for a variety of purposes, such as the manufacture of 
baskets, chairs, crates, and the hoods of carts; while, split into strips and twisted, 
they become most powerful ropes. A very large trade is done in making tables and 
chairs of these canes, of which the most familiar is probably the well-known "deck 
chair," to be found on every passenger ship in eastern waters. The two smaller 
canes, C. pacliystemonus and C. radiatus, the stems of which only attain the thickness 
of a pencil, are used in vast quantities for the manufacture of baskets for Ceylon 
tea gardens, for receiving the tea leaves as they are plucked from the bushes; in 
fact, so great is the quantity consumed in this way that if the canes used in these 
baskets were put end to end they would extend for some thousands of miles. In 
addition to its use in basket making, C. radiatus supplies the material for making 
the bottoms of chairs, for which purpose it is first split into long thin strips to ren- 
der it elastic and pliable. Twisted, the Icukul-ivel supplies rope for towing purposes, 
as its tenacity is prodigious. Finally, the thin strips cut from this cane are used for 
making frames for hats used by some of the laboring classes in Ceylon. (Official 
Cat. and Handbook, Ceylon Courts, W. C. E., 1893.) 

C. equestris is a scandent palm found in the Moluccas, or Spice Islands, and the 
Philippines, and also cultivated in conservatories. " On account of the flexibility 
and elasticity of its delicate branches it is much sought for making harness, the 
reins of bridles," etc. 

Calathea zebrina. Zebra Plant. 

A representative species of a genus of Marantacew inhabiting the West Indies and 
South America. Bernardin mentions this Jamaica species as producing a fiber. 
" The species are natives of tropical America, and some of them are in cultivation for 
the sake of their handsome foliage, especially C. zebrina, the leaves of which have 
alternate dark-colored and green stripes. The leaves of some of the South American 
kinds are used for making baskets." (Dr. Masters.) 

Caldera bush (see Pandanus). 
Calla-wel (Ceyl.). See Derris scandens. 



104 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Callicarpa cana. Arusha. 

An India shrub (3 to 4 feet) belonging to the Ferbenaeece, common along the road- 
skies. Fgrhes Royle states that fiber has been extracted from the plant, 'but it 
does not appear of much value in a country where so many others abound.'' Tested 
with Russian hemp of a given size, the aroosha broke at 127 pounds, while the hemp 
stood a strain of 400 pounds. "It possesses all the free and kindly nature of flax, 
and even swells like flax'' {Captain Thompson.) 

Calmelia (It.). See Daphne rnezereum. 

Caloee (Siam). See Boehmeria. 

Calotropis gigantea. Giaxt Asclepias. Madar; MtjdXb. 

Exogen. Asclepiadacece. Perennial shrub. 

Abounds in India, Malay Islands, and south China. "It is not very common in 
Burma, and as represented by the doubtfully distinct species, C. procera, it is dis- 
tributed to Persia and tropical Africa"' ( Watt). 

Bast Fiber. — The species yields a fine fiber in the bast, while the seeds are envel- 
oped in a silk cotton known as maddr floss. In the Javanese exhibit at the Chicago 
World's Fair two fibrous productions were shown, one a bast fiber of good color and 
great strength, the other a substance resembling cotton, but of a creamy color. The 
bast fiber was derived from the Giant Asclepias (C. gigantea). It is of considerable 
value in Indian pharmacy, growing wild upon arid wastes, and producing a fiber of 
superior quality. It resembles flax somewhat in appearance, and is quite strong. 
It is not cultivated in India, though its fiber is regarded in Madras, where the plant 
grows wild, as the best and strongest material for bowstrings and tiger traps. The 
plant is known under a variety of names, as Ashur in Arabic, Muddr and Al-Muddar 
in Hindoo ; in Madras it goes by the name of Tercum. As it thrives upon soils where 
nothing else will grow, needing neither culture nor water, it has been considered an 
advisable plant for bringing waste land under tillage and for reclaiming drifting 
sands. 

An acre of ground stocked with plants 4 feet apart each way will yield 10 tons of 
green stems and 582 pounds of fiber per acre, as prepared by native methods, which 
waste 25 per cent. The fiber is said to possess many of the qualities of flax (Linum 
usitatiss'nnum ), though it is somewhat finer. Its fineness, tenacity, luster, and softness 
fit it for many industrial purposes. It is said to be better adapted for textiles than 
for cordage, and that it may readily be mixed with silk; yet it shows a high degree 
of resistance to moisture. "Samples exposed for two hours to steam at two atmos- 
pheres, boiled in water for three hours, and again steamed for four hours, lost only 
5.47 per cent by weight, as compared with flax, 3.50 ; manila hemp, 6.07 ; hemp, 6.18- 
8.44; coir, 8.13" (Spon). 

The mode of separating the fiber as practiced by the natives is exceedingly tedious 
and would prevent the material from becoming an article of commerce unless some 
more speedy and less trifling way for preparing it could be discovered. In short, 
no water is used, and everything is done by hand manipulation, assisted by the 
teeth. Flax machinery might facilitate the matter if it was desired to cultivate 
extensively for liber. As to its cultivation, " it is difficult to conceive anything less 
productive than dry sand, yet the muddr thrives in it, requiring no culture and no 
water." Dr. Wight tested samples of the fiber from Madras, where it is much 
employed for tish lines, and found that it bore a strain of 552 pounds when sunn 
hemp bore 404 pounds. Royle s experiments gave 160 for Russian hemp and 190 
pounds each for Jubbulpore hemp (Crotalaria) and the muddr or Calotropis gigantea. 

In the autumn of 1884, while testing different machines in their power of extracting 
the libers of various liher-yielding plants, I devoted attention to the dkunda or maddr 
amongst other plants. I had already studied this shrub previously, to a certain 
extent, and had formed a hopeful idea of it. But the trials just alluded to have 
induced me to alter considerably my previous opinion. 1 can now confidently state 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 105 

that the hopes expressed by previous writers and by myself that the maildr would 
be one of the best fiber producers of this country will never be realized. Its fiber 
is certainly fine, strong, white, and silky, and could doubtless be extracted in a mer- 
chantable condition (though none of the machines tested by me produced any good 
results with it), but the obstacles to its profitable utilization on a large scale out- 
weigh its natural good qualities : (1) The very small proportion of the fiber to weight 
of the stems, the proportion being only 1.56 per cent ; and (2) the shortness of the 
fibers, extending as they usually do from joint to joint, the joints being from 3 to 8 
inches apart. These two chief obstacles are sufficient to justify a withdrawal of the 
maddr from the list of hopeful fiber-bearing plants of India. (L. Liotard, in Die. 
Ec. Prod. Ind.). 

Surface Fiber. — The cotton-like substance derived from the pods is similar to 
the silky hairs of the common milkweed, though coarser and less silky. The sub- 
stance shown in the Javanese exhibit was erroneously stated to have been derived 
from this species. The Javanese name of the fiber was kapok, and the kapok of 
Java is the product Eriodendron anfractuosum. The cottony fiber of C. gigantea is 
said to have been manufactured into shawls and handkerchiefs, but it hardly 
possesses sufficient strength to be spun alone. I am aware, however, that a soft 
kind of a cloth has been made from the "down" of this tree. Dr. Walker, prison 
superintendent, Agra, sent to the London Exhibition of 1862 three specimens of this 
cloth, as follows: Made entirely of muddr floss; made of one part cotton and one 
part floss ; and made of three parts cotton and one part floss. A rug made of the 
floss was also exhibited. It has also been used in the manufacture of paper. There 
are several other species of plants belonging to the Asclepiadacea •, that are known to 
the vegetable economy as fiber producers, and found chiefly in the Old World. 

The maddr is not alone a fiber plant, as it produces gutta-percha, varnish, dye, medi- 
cine, and a liquor, and besides it is useful in the domestic economy. 

Savorgnan mentions C. procera, the fiber of which presents some of the character- 
istics of the above. 

Camelina sativa. 

Exogen. Cruciferw. Annual herb, 2 feet. 
" Cultivated in middle and southern Europe and in temperate Asia for its fiber, 
but especially for its oil" (Spon). There are several European and North American 
species of this genus. "The stems of C. sativa contain a considerable proportion of 
fiber, and are commonly used for making brooms in many parts of Europe" {A. 
Smith). It is sometimes known as false flax and is a bad weed in some places. It 
produces a bast fiber. 

Camelote, or Gamelote (Venez.). Panicum myurus. 

Camona (Peru). Iriartea deltoidea. See also Ma,stinazia. 

Canamo (Peru). Cannabis sativa. 

Canapa (It.). See Cannabis sativa. 

Canapaccia (It.). See Artemisia vulgaris. 

Canapina (S. Am.). See Abutilon avicennw. 

Candee rush (Vict.). See Juncus effusus. 

Cane, The Rattan (see Calamus rotang, and Calamus rudentum). 

Cane fiber (IT. S.). See Arundinaria tecta. 

Canna (It.). 

"Carina da stuoje," etc., cane for mats. "Common generic name for a great many 
plants of the Graminew, more or less marshy in their growing localities, especially 



106 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

the Arundo donas, with the stems of which arc braided mats and matting, fishing 
baskets," etc. ( Savor gnan). This should not be confounded with the ornamental 
plant known aa Canna, or Indian shot. 

Cannabis sativa. Common Hemp. 

Exogen. Urticacea. Annual shrub, G to 15 feet. 

Common and native names. — Hemp (Eng. : ( 'hanvre (Ft.) ; Hanf (Ger.) ; Cava pa 
(It.); KonapU (Rus.); Bang (Pers.); (ihanga (Beng.); Asa (Jap.); Chtir-U-ao 
(China). The Sanskrit name of the plant is Bhanga; in Hindostan it i- railed 
Ganja : the Arab name is Einnub, Kanab, or Kannab, from which, doubtless, its 
Latin name, Cannabis, is derived. 
Its native home is India and Persia, but it is in general cultivation in many parts 
of the world, both in temperate and more tropical climes. Its cultivation is an estab- 
lished industry in the United States, Kentucky, Missouri, and Illinois being the 
chief sources of supply, though the culture lias extended as far north as Minnesota 
and as far south as the Mississippi Delta, while California has recently become inter- 
ested in its growth. Fig. 3, PI. V, shows a growth of hemp in Kern County, Cal., 
where it reaches a height of 12 to 15 feet. This hemp is of remarkably line quality, 
and it brings an extra price in the New York market. 

Several varieties are recognized in cultivation in this country, that cultivated in 
Kentucky, and having a hollow stem, being the most common. China hemp, with 
>lmder stems, growing very erect, has a wide range of culture. Smyrna hemp is 
adapted to cultivation over a still wider range, and a variety is beginning to be 
cultivated in California known as Japanese hemp, but which is doubtless indentical 
with China hemp. In Europe five varieties are cultivated, which are enumerated as 
follows: The common hemp, grown largely in France, and generally in Europe out- 
side of Italy, growing to a height of 5 to 7 feet. Bologne hemp, known in France as 
Piedmontese hemp, or Great hemp, an Italian variety averaging 12 feet in height. 
Chinese hemp, known in Europe since 1846, and said to have been imported by Sig- 
nor Itier. It is stated that in Algiers this hemp has been grown to a height of 20 
feet, and that its fiber is remarkably fine and wonderfully elastic. The Canapa 
piccolo, or small hemp of Italy, is another variety, with a reddish stalk, which is 
found in the valley of the Arno and around Tuscany. The fifth variety is the Ara- 
bian hemp known as Takrousi, a short species cultivated for its resinous principle 
from which hasheesh is derived. 

Bast Fiber. — In the literature of fiber-producing plants of the world the word 
hemp appears frequently, applied oftentimes to fibers that are widely distinct from 
each other. The word is usually employed with a prefix, even when the true hemp 
is meant, as manila hemp, sisal hemp, Russian hemp, etc. The hemp plant proper, 
the C. sativa of the botanists, has been so generally cultivated the world over as a 
cordage fiber that the value of all other fibers as to the strergth and durability is 
estimated by it, and in many of the experiments of Roxburgh and others we find 
''Russian hem])" or "best English hemp"' taken as standards of comparison. The 
fiber is produced for export chiefly in Russia and Poland, much of it being dark in 
color and low in grade. It approaches nearer to American hemp than any other. 
French or Breton hemp is fine, white, and lustrous; but little, if any, is exported, 
as the home demand equals the supply. Italian hemp is the highest made which 
comes to our market, 2,500 tons having been received in 1894-95, out of a total import 
of about 0,000 tons. 

A sample of Persian hemp in the Department collection is the simple stripped 
bast. It is light in color and very strong. A sample of Siamese-hemp bast also 
shown is so rough that it appears like another fiber. Hemp grows in all part- of 
India, and in many districts fiourishes in a wild >tate. I r is but little cultivated for 
its fiber, although Bombay-grown hemp at one time "was proved to be superior to 
the Russian." In portions of India, as well as other hot countries, it is cultivated 
for its narcotic products, the great value of which makes the India cultivators indif- 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



107 



ferent about the fiber. The raw hemp produced in Japan is usually sold in the form 
of ribbons, thin as paper, but as smooth and glossy as satin, a light straw color, the 
frayed ends showing a fiber of exceeding fineness. Beautiful samples of this hemp 
were secured by the Department at the World's Columbian Exposition, together 
with many samples of manufactures. The fiber is largely grown in Japan for the 
manufacture of cloth and the industry is very old, as prior to the introduction of 
silk weaving it was the only textile fabric of the country. 

Uses. — Largely employed in the United States for small twines and cordage, bind- 
ing twines, etc. Formerly large areas were devoted to the cultivation of the plant 
in the United States, and thirty-five years ago nearly 40,000 tons of hemp was pro- 
duced in Kentucky alone, while now hardly more than a fourth of this quantity is 
produced in the whole country. 
There are several reasons for the 
decline in production in the 
United States, but it dates back, 
primarily, to the decline in Amer- 
ican shipbuilding and to the in- 
troduction of the Philippine Is- 
land hemp (Musa textilis), the 
manila hemp of commerce, and 
later to the large importation of 
jute. Quite recently there has 
been a further falling off in pro- 
duction, and it is worthy of note 
that this is largely due to the 
overproduction of this same hemp 
of Manila, brought about by the 
high prices of the latter fiber in 
1890-91, a direct result of the 
manipulation of the fiber market 
by certain binding-twine manu- 
facturers. In past years the hemp 
of Kentucky was not only used 
for the rigging of vessels, and in 
twines or yarns, and bagging, but 
it was spun and woven into cloth, 
just as to-day it is manufactured 
into fabrics in portions of Brit- 
tany. 

Culture. — As in Breton 
France, so in Kentucky, limestone 
soils, or the alluvial soils, such as 
are found in the river bottoms, 
are best adapted to this plant. 
The culture, therefore, is quite general along the smaller streams of Brittany, where 
the climate is mild and the atmosphere humid; and in Kentucky the best lands only 
are chosen for hemp, and the most favorable results being obtained where there is 
an underlying bed of blue limestone. As a general rule, light or dry soils or heavy, 
tenacious soils are most unfavorable. 

Hemp is not considered a very exhaustive crop. It is stated by a successful Ken- 
tucky grower that virgin soil sown to hemp can be followed with this crop for fifteen 
to twenty years successively; alternating then with small grain or clover, it can be 
grown every third year, without fertilizers, almost indefinitely. In France a rotation 
of crops is practiced, hemp alternating with grain crops, although competent authori- 
ties state that it may also be allowed to grow continuously upon the same land, but 
not without fertilizers. Regarding this mode of cultivation, they consider that it is 




Fig. 37.— The Hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. 



108 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

not contrary to the law of rotation, as by deep plowing and the annual use of an 
abundance of fertilizer the ground is kept sufficiently enriched for the demands which 
are made upon it. If the soil is not sufficiently rich in phosphates or the salts of 
potassium, these must be supplied by the use of lime, marl, ground bones, animal 
charcoal, or ashes mixed with prepared animal compost. Even hemp cake, the leaves 
of the plant, and the "shive/' or "boon," maybe returned to the land with benefit. 
This high fertilizing is necessary, as the hemp absorbs the equivalent of 1,500 kilos 
of fertilizers per every hundred kilos of fiher obtained. In Japan, where most excel- 
lent hemp is produced, the ground is given a heavy dressing of barnyard manure 
before it is plowed in November. After the soil has been well pulverized and reduced 
to fine tilth, the seed is drilled and the land given a top dressing composed of one 
part fish guano, two parts wood ashes, and four parts animal manure. The propor- 
tions and the quantities used differ, of course, upon different soils. In New York, 
where hemp was formerly grown, barnyard manures or standard fertilizers were used, 
as it was considered essential to put the soil in good fertility to make a successful 
crop. A Kentucky practice is to burn the refuse and spread the ashes over the land. 

As in flax culture, a careful and thorough preparation of the seed bed is important, 
for the finer and more mellow the ground the better will be the fiber. Soil prepara- 
tion in the blue- grass region of Kentucky consists in a fall or early spring plowing, 
and a short time before seeding, which, in general terms, is about corn-planting time, 
the ground is thoroughly pulverized by means of an improved harrow, such as the 
disk harrow, after which it is made smooth. The date of planting varies according 
to whether the soil is wet or dry and may range from the last week in March to the 
last week in April, or even the 1st of May. In Shelby County, Ky.. the ordinary 
gram drill is used for broadcast seeding. The rubber pipes are removed from the 
drill, and a board is attached directly beneath the hopper. The seed falling upon 
the board is scattered in front of the drill hoes, which do the covering. A light drag 
passed over the field levels and evens the surface, after which nothing is done until 
the hemp is ready for the harvest. 

The quantity of seed sown to the acre varies in different practice from 33 pounds 
to 1 to 1^ bushels. In New York 1 to 3 bushels have been sown, 1 bushel giving bet- 
ter results than a larger quantity. In Illinois it varies from 1 to 2^ bushels. In 
France a difference is made regarding the use to which the fiber will be put, a third 
more seed being sown for spinning fiber than for cordage fiber. On a farm in Sarthe, 
visited by the writer, a little less than 3 bushels to the acre was the usual quantity 
sown, but as high as 4 bushels are sown on some farms. There will be little trouble 
with weeds if the first crop is well destroyed by the spring plowing, for hemp gen- 
erally occupies all the ground, giving weeds but little chance to intrude. For this 
reason the plant is an admirable weed killer, and in llax-growing countries is some- 
times employed as a crop, in rotation, to precede flax, because it puts the soil in good 
conditiou. 

In Kentucky the hemp stalks are considered ready to cut in one hundred days, or 
when the first ripe seed is found in the heads. The cutting is usually done with a 
hooked implement, or knife bent at right angles about 24 inches from the hand. In 
recent years, however, the work is sometimes done by machines adapted to the pur- 
pose, and particularly when the stalks are slender. The fore i-.n practices relating 
to the harvesting differ materially from those usually followed in this country. They 
are fully described, however, in Report Xo. 8 of the Fiber Investigations series issued 
by the Department, to which the reader is referred. 

In this country when the stalks arc cut they are laid in rows, even at the butts, 
and are allowed to remain on the ground not over a week to dry— only long enough, 
a- one correspondent expresses it, to get a rain on the leaves, so that they will drop 
off readily. When the rain is too long deferred, however, the hemp should be put 
in shocks, or small stacks, having been iirst made into bundles of convenient size for 
easy handling. Hemp is usually dew retted— that is, spread evenly over the ground 
to undergo the action of the elements which dissolve or rot out the gums holding 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



109 



the filaments together. Formerly pool, or water, retting was practiced in a very 
small way in Kentucky and to a slight extent later in Illinois. The hemp is allowed 
to remain in stack until Novemher or December, or about two months, when it is 
spread over the ground until retted. No rule can be given regarding the proper 
length of time that the hemp should lie, as this varies according to the weather, 
sudden freezing, followed by thaws, hastening the operation. It is usually allowed 
to lie until the bast separates readily from the woody portion of the stalk. When 
there is a large crop there may be an advantage in spreading the hemp earlier than 
November, in order that the breaking may be done in the winter months. Winter- 
retted hemp is brighter, however, than that retted in October. It is usually stacked 
and spread upon the same ground upon which it is grown, and when sufficiently 
retted, as can be determined by breaking out a little, it is again put into shocks. If 
the hemp be dry, the shocks should be tied around the top tightly with a band of 
hemp to keep out the rain. The shocks are made firm by tying with a band the first 
aimful or two, raising it up and beating it well against the ground. The remainder 
of the hemp is set up around this central support. By flaring at the bottom, and 
tying well, a firm shock 
can be made that will 
stand firmly without dan- 
ger of being blown over 
by the wind. 

As the best hemp which 
comes to our market is 
that grown in Italy, a 
few words on the Italian 
practice will not be out 
of place. Several varie- 
ties are cultivated in 
Italy, the soil chosen 
being a soft, deep, sedi- 
mentary formation, and 
this is twice plowed in 
November, fifteen days 
intervening between the 
two plo wings. The quan- 
tity of seed sown varies according to the soil, climate, and variety of hemp, but in 
Lombardy the average quantity is 200 liters per hectare, or about 2-J bushels per acre. 
The crop is well fertilized, but not excessively, and regard is had to economy of cost. 
In addition to other fertilizers, in Bologna, Professor Marconi names the following: 
First, manure and olive husks (after the last pressing) ; second, manure and excre- 
ment from hens (little used but very efficacious) ; third; manure and chrysalides of 
worms, i. e., silk worms; fourth, manure and olive husks with one or more of the 
others. The guide for harvesting the crop is the state of maturity of the tops, which 
become yellow, and the white appearance at the foot of the stalks. First, the male 
plants are harvested and twenty or twenty-four days later the female plants. These 
two operations are never retarded nor precipitated. After cutting, the stalks are 
removed to a shady place and the tops inclined over a sort of trestle to dry. Ten or 
twelve handfuls of stalks form a bundle of equal length stems for the operation of 
macerating. 

In favorable soils Italian hemp averages a yield of 1,700 to 2,200 pounds of dry 
stalks per acre, which produce from 450 to 530 pounds of fiber. "In general, 100 
kilos of raw hemp furnish 25 kilos of raw filasse, and 100 kilos of ordinary filasse 
(fiber) give 65 kilos combed filasse and 32 kilos of tow; 100 kilos of seed furnish 27 
kilos of oil." (Savorgnan.) A kilo is 2.2 pounds. 

The stalks are retted in water and either dried in the open air, in furnaces, or in 
trenches, the last practice being rarely followed. Drying in the open air has advantages 







Fig. 



. — Kentucky hemp brake. 



110 



USEFUL FIBEK PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



over any other method; first, less expensive; second, a superior bleaching of the 
fiber. In the ovens the operation is hastened, and many time* this is a very desirable 
system. In a perfectly dry atmosphere three to six days suffice for drying thoroughly. 
The stalks are again put into bundles and placed in dry locations, safe from rodents. 
The drying by artificial heat is done in common bread ovens, but the temperature 
should be very moderate ; usually the hemp is introduced one hour or one hour and 
a half after the removal of the bread from the oven. The hemp stalks are decorti- 
cated in various ways, by hand processes of beating, or by machinery. The French 
brake, which is somewhat similar to the Kentucky brake, is little used, though a 
machine (juite as primitive is largely employed. In this device the stalks are first 
crushed, then cleaned by beating. The hemp is not ready 
for market when it comes from this machine, but is fur- 
ther cleaned, and the bits of wood, etc., which adhere to 
the fibers are carefully removed. See Hemp Machinery in 
Appendix A. Fig. 38 is a Kentucky hemp brake. 

The market prices for American rough hemp at the pres- 
ent time may be stated at $70 to $80 per ton for Missouri 
and $125 per ton for Kentucky. Xo recent figures are at 
hand showing cost of production, but in 1890, counting 
a man and a team worth $3.50 per day, the cost of produc- 
ing an acre of hemp in Kentucky was shown to be about 
$24. The average yield is about 1,000 pounds per acre, 
but this is frequently exceeded by several hundred 
pounds. 

^Specimens. — Field Col. Mus. ; U. S. Nat. Mus. ; Mus. 
U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Canoe birch (see Betula papyri/era). 

Capas, or Kapas. Gossypium. 

Capo di bue (It.). See Antirrhinum. 

Caraguata (Arg.). See BromeJia argentina. 

Caraiia. 

Orton gives this as the Brazilian name of a fine glossy 
fiber from a species of Bromelia, from which ropes are 
made. 

Carex brizoides, et sp. div. 

Endogen. Cyperacecv. A sedge. 
This and the two species of Carex, which follow, are 
mentioned in the Manual Hoepli. and are presumably 




Fig. 39. — Carex j^aniculata. 



Italian species. They are sedges or rushes. C. brizoides can be employed as 
substitute for Esparto in brush making, and is woven. The species appears in 



C. pendula is employed for chair 
C.pahidosa supplies similar material 



Bernardin's list as Alpengfass, from Holland 
seating, itsltalian name being Sola perseggiole. 
and is known by the simple name Sala. 

Other species of Carex are mentioned in the Official Guide Kew Mus., as follows: 
C. tereticaulis is an Australian species, that has been employed by the Murray River 
native tribe for net making. Guilfoyle names the species as paper stock. C. lepo- 
rina is employedin Switzerland for stufriug furniture. The culms of C. rhynchophjim 
are used for making table mats \v. Japan, and C. paviculata, in England, is employed 
for hassocks and brooms. The species is also mentioned by Guilfoyle as a good paper 
stock. See Fig. 39. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. Ill 

Carex vulpinoidea (?). Slough Grass. 

A species of Carex or sedge supposed to l>e C. vulpinoidea has been used to some 
extent in the manufacture in Iowa, under the Lowry patents, of a grass binding 
twine. Samples of this twine in the Department collection show a strand composed 
of the grass leaves, held together by means of a thread or fine twine which ivinds 
spirally about the mass, forming a continuous "twine," or tying substance, of 
considerable strength. 

C. ridpinoidea is a very common sedge in this State (Iowa) in rather low places. I 
am not familiar with the*manufacture of this twine, but am of the opinion that this 
may not have been the only species that was used. There are several species which 
have tough, fibrous stems. Professor Bndd informs me that this sedge was largely 
used in tying sacks, and that it is of excellent quality. {Prof. L. H. Fammel.) 

Mr. Lowry, the patentee, makes the following statements regarding the manu- 
facture of this twine : 

The grass for twine should be cut the latter part of July or early in August ; if cut 
earlier it is pulpy and has no strength ; if allowed to grow longer the slender tops 
wither off and the stalk becomes brittle. It is cut with a reaper, which delivers from 
the platform straight and in gavels; the following day the gavels are bound and 
" stooked " or " shocked " on the butt ends, as is done with grain, and allowed to dry 
or "cure" for about three days, when it is stacked or baled for shipment. The yield 
is from l-£ to 2 tons per acre. In baling, it is necessary, for twine, that it should be 
kept straight. The first process is putting it through the combing machine to remove 
the short grass and any weeds there may be among it. The machines as made at 
present have each a capacity of 7,500 yards per hour. The machine takes the grass 
from the hopper, twists it, puts the thread around it, and bales it. The labor of 
combing the grass and feeding the machine is light work and could be done by boys 
or. girls. One ton of grass yields about 1,850 pounds of twine and 250 pounds of hay. 
For binder twine it requires no treatment of any kind, but it should not be subjected 
to excessive moisture or artificial heat. 

* Specimens.— Field Col. Mus. ; Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Careya arborea. 

A deciduous tree, found in India, which yields a gum, tan bark, dye, medicine, 
fruit, and fiber. "The bark yields a good fiber for coarse cordage, and a stuff suit- 
able for brown paper of good quality. Silk worms feed on the leaves. The fibrous 
bark is used in Mysor as a slow match to ignite gunpowder, and in many parts of 
India as fusees for matchlocks." (Die. Ec. Prod. Ind.). 

Carica papaya. The Pap aw of the Tropics. 

While celebrated for its fruit, it yields a fiber that may be obtained 5 feet long, 
and is mentioned in the lists of Bernardin and the Flax and Hemp Commission and 
alluded to by Dr. Watt. Of questionable utility. 

Carludovica palmata. 

Endogen. Cyclanthacea\ 

The plants of this genus are found in tropical South America and in Central America. 
C. palmata is a stemless species, " common in shady places all over Panama and along 
the coast of New Granada [United States of Columbia] and Ecuador." 

The leaves, which are plaited like a fan, "are borne on three-cornered stalks from 
6 to 14 feet high. They are about 4 feet in diameter and deeply cut into four or five 
divisions, each of which is again cut. The leaves are cut while young, and the stiff 
parallel veins removed, after which they are slit into shreds, but not separated at 
the stalk end, and immersed in boiling water for a short time and then bleached in 
the sun." (J. Smith.) 

Specimens of the prepared leaves, in bundles, were obtained from the several 



112 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



Central and South American collections at the W. C. E., 1893, and are preserved in 
the National Museum and the Museum of the Department of Agriculture. These 
always have the appearance of a hundle of straws. The leaf is split in narrow strips, 
which are dried in the sun. Under the action of the heat they roll up into this straw- 
fike form, and it only remains to bleach, and weave them. 

USES.— The leaves are plaited into many useful objects, the best known being the 
celebrated Panama hats, which have been sold as high a $150 apiece. It is said that 
rhe hats of superior quality are plaited from a single leaf without any joinings, 
•cigar cases, small bags, and similar objects are also made from these leaves. 

* Specimens.— Mas. U. S. Dept. 

Ag. U. S.Nat.Mus. Phil. Corn. 

Mus. 

Carnauba palm (Braz.). 
See Gopernicia. 

Carnestolendas (Yenez.). 
Coch losperm t< m g o s 8 yp- 

hnn. 

Carolinea fastuosa (Mex.). 
See PacMra. 

Carya. See Ricoria. 

Caryota urens. Kittool 
Palm. Jaggery Palm. 

Endogen. Palmes. Palm 
tree, 60 feet. See fig. 40. 

Common in the eastern and 
western moist zone of India and 
has long been known to the 
native inhabitants of Ceylon. 
"In places it has been intro- 
duced by the natives into their 
gardens, as it yields so much 
that enters into the economy of 
their daily life, while affording 
a remarkable commodity in the 
form of j aggery or native sugar." 
(Handbook of Ceylon, W. C. E., 
1893.) 

Structural Fiber. — Brownish black, the filaments straight, smooth, and glossy 
It exhibits considerable tenacity and will bear twisting, as the liber is somewhat 
elastic. Some of the filaments resemble horsehair very closely, and, drawn between 
the thumb and nail of the forefinger, curl as readily as coir. Samples of fiber from 
this palm as well as tow prepared from it were received from the Philippine Islands 
and from Victoria, the latter prepared by Dr. Guilfoyle. It is'indigenous in north- 
ern Australia. In Malabar it is called Shunda-pevna, in Burma Miribaw, and the Sin- 
galese name is Kittul or Kittool. It is a beautiful tree, growing to a height of GO feet, 
and surmounted by an elegant crown of graceful curved leaves. The tree is a foot 
in diameter. The liber, which is black and very coarse, is useful for making ropes, 
brashes, brooms, baskets, etc.; and a woollj -substance or scurf scraped from the leaf- 
stalks is used for calking boats. It Is also extensively used in machine brushes for 
polishing linen and cotton yarns, for cleaning llax fiber after it i^ scutched, for 
brushing velvets, and other similar purposes. In Ceylon the black liber is manufac- 




Fio. 40— The Kittool palm, Caryota urens. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 113 

tured into ropes of great strength and durability, which are used for tying elephants. 
It is both regular and compact, and its manufacture exhibits considerable skill. In 
Australia, Dr. Guilfoyle says, it is nsed for making paper. As high as $16,000 worth 
of this fiber has been exported from Ceylon in a single year; it enters largely into 
the manufacture of brushes, and there is a considerable demand. '"The fiber, as it 
is called, forms at the base of the leaves of the palm, in a strong sort of bracing, that 
tends to hold the leaf against the stem as it appears on both sides of the blade of the 
leafstalk. This is removed with a knife from the fallen leaves, and then cleaned, to 
free it from extraneous matter, and finally put up into bobbins, in shape not unlike 
a torpedo, when it is ready for sale. Ropes, and even fishing lines, are made from 
kitul fiber, as it is easily twisted into fine cord, and is strong and durable." (Hand- 
book of Ceylon.) 

When first imported the finer fibers were used for mixing with horsehair for stuff- 
ing cushions. As the fiber is imported it is of a dusky-brown color, but after it 
arrives here it is cleaned, combed, and arranged in long, straight fibers, after which 
it is steeped in linseed oil to make it more pliable ; this, also, has the effect of darken- 
ing it, and it becomes, indeed, almost black. It is softer and more pliable than pias- 
saba, and can consequently be used either alone or mixed with bristles in making 
soft, long-handled brooms, which are extremely durable, and can be sold at about a 
third the price of ordinary hair brooms. The use of Kiitool fiber is said to be spread- 
ing not only in this country but also on the Continent. During 1895 Kiitool fiber 
has not been much in demand. (Cantor Lectures, Morris.) Its chief use in the 
United States is for the manufacture of brewer's brushes. 

* Specimens. — Field. Col. Mus. ; Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. Phil. Com. Mus. 

Caryota spp. 

C. mitis is mentioned by Savorgnan as another species found in Ceylon, from the 
leaves of which a kind of Crin vegetal is manufactured called Black fiber. Ber- 
nardin also mentions C. onusta from the Philippine Islands, called Cabo Xegro- 
C. onusta is Arenga sacliarifera. 

Cascara (Peru.) See Couratari legalis. 

Cascara also means a husk, as, Cascara de coco, husk of the cocoanut. 

Cassia auriculata. Tanner's Cassia. 

Exogen. Leguminosw. 
The species of this genus are more important from the medical standpoint as pro- 
ducing " Senna," besides gums, tans, and dyes. C. auriculata is merely mentioned as 
yielding fiber in its bast. " Specimens of the bark were sent to tho Calcutta Exhi- 
bition from Cuddapah, Madras, as a tanning material, but an excellent fiber was 
prepared from a surplus of this bark and made into rope. The fibrous property of 
the plant does not appear to have been investigated. The caterpillar of a large spe- 
cies of silkworm feeds on the leaves of this plant." ( Watt.) 

Cassytha melantha. Common Scrub Vine of Australia. 

Mentioned by Dr. Guilfoyle as a fiber-producing species. These scrub vines some- 
times form impenetrable thickets. The plant belongs to a common genus of semi- 
parasitical leafless, thread-like plants. Their habit is to twine around other trees, 
with which they come in contact, with their wire-like branches. They are some- 
times called Dodder laurels. C. filiformis is found in India. 

Castilloa elastica. 

Exogen. Moracea\ A tree. 
This species abounds in Mexico and Central America. It has male and female 
flowers alternating one with the other on the same branch. The male flowers have 
12247— No. & 8 



114 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

several stamens inserted into a hemispherical perianth, consisting of several united 
scales. The female flowers consist of numerous ovaries in a similar cup. The tree 
contains a milky juice, yielding caoutchouc. 

Bast Fiber. The Costa Rican exhibit, W. C. E., 1893, contained an interesting 
collection of the tough, cloth-like hast from this tree, some of the examples measur- 
ing 10 to 12 feet in length and 15 inches vide. The sheets of hast are similar to the 
Damajagua hast from Peru and applicable to the same uses. 

Specimens: Phila. Com. Mus. 

Casuarina stricta. The Drooping She Oak. 

Exogen. Casuarinacece. 

These singular trees are met with most abundantly in tropical Australia and New 
Caledonia, where, according to Dr. Bennett, they are called oaks. "They have very 
much the appearance of gigantic horse tails (Equisetacece) , being trees with thread- 
like jointed furrowed pendant branches. Their sombre appearance causes them to 
be planted in cemeteries, where their branches give out a mournful sighing sound as 
the breezes pass over them, waving at the same time their gloomy hearse-like 
pinnies." C. stricta is common on the coast as well as the inland tracts of South Aus- 
tralia, Victoria, Tasmania, and New South Wales. 

Fiber. — The stringy foliage formed by the cylindrical concrescence of the branch- 
lets with the leaves can be converted into an excellent pulp for packing, and even 
printing paper and millboard. The mechanical contrivances for preparing the pulp 
are of particular ease. (Ferd. von Mueller). 

C. suberosa, the Erect She Oak, is restricted to Victoria and Xew South Wales. 
The foliage in its use is akin to that of the former species. Different Casuarina occur 
in the other Australian colonies, in south Asia and the Pacific Islands, but none of 
the species has been employed before for paper manufacture, and consequently the 
investigations instituted in Victoria may be found eveu of value in a country so 
anciently industrial as China. (Ferd. von Mueller). 

C. muricata is a native of southern India, and C. equisetifolia is found in the South 
Sea Islauds. The trees of these two species are valuable for many economic uses, 
but are not particularly mentioned as fibrous. 

Catirina (Peru). See Attalea. 

Cat-tail flag (see TypJia). 

Cavanillesia plantanifolia. Yolandero. 

Exogen. Leguminosce. 
Found in Panama and New Carthagena. "The inner bark affords a fiber much 
resembling Cuba bast. It bleaches readily and makes a strong, white, opaque 
paper." (Spon.) 

Cebu hemp (Phil. Is.). Musa textilis. 
Cecropia peltata. Trumpet Tree. 

Exogen. Moracece. Tree, 50 feet. 
Native name. — Embauba or umbauba. 

Native of AVest Indies and tropical South America. 

Fiber. — Produced from the inner bark of the young branches; said to be very 
tough. Bernardin says the fiber is used in Brazil for sacks. In notes on the State 
of Para, W. C. E., 1893, the fiber is claimed to be used for strong ropes and cordage. 

The Uaupe" Indians, who inhabit the Rio Uaupes, a tributary of the Rio Negro, 
convert the hollow stems of this tree into a very curious kind of musical instrument, 
a species of drum, called by them Jmboobas. They select a trunk 4 or 5 inches in 
diameter, and cut off a piece about 4 feet long, removing the partitions and render- 
ing the inside smooth by means of lire : they then <dose up the lower end with leaves 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 115 

beaten down into a hard mass with a pestle, and cut two holes toward the top end 
so as to form a handle. These rude instruments are commonly nsed in the native 
dances, the performer, holding by the handle, beats the lower end npon ihe ground, 
and moves his feet in nnison with the sounds thus produced. (Treas. Botany.) 

Cedar, Gigantic Red, of the Pacific Coast. Thuja gigantea. 
Ceiba (Mex.). See Bombax ceiba. 

The following nomenclature is given in Bernardin's List of 550 Textiles Fibers, 
under the title " Duvet Brun" (brown downs or silk cottons) : Silk cotton, Domin- 
ique; Sole de la Havane, Kawo-Tcmvo, Malais; Suffed-simul, Hind. ; Cotton, kapolc, S. 
M. ; Guana, Cuba; Poor, Tel.; Pania, Paniala, Mai. (Eriodendron anfractuosum). 
Duvet de Bimba, Peru; (Bombax sp.) Duvet de Ceiba, Cent. Am. ; Comaca, Demarara; 
Pullom, Cote d'Afrique, (Bombax ceiba) Duvet de Lanero, Cuba; patte de lievre e'dre- 
don vegetal, Antilles; Balsa, Cent. Am. (Ochroma lag opus). 

The Venezuelan flora possesses the following species: Bombax ceiba, B. cumanense, 
B. septenatum, Eriodendron anfractuosum. These are called in common parlance 
ceiba; but we prefer, with Andres Bello, the form ceibo, according to the analogy 
with other species, as balso 6 lano, Ochroma lagopus. (Dr. Ernst.) 

The Bot. Mus. Harv. Univ. has fine* specimens of the fiber of C. lucia, from Costa 
Rica. 

Ceiba pentandra. 

This is Eriodendron anfractuosum, or " Pochote" which see. 

In Millspaugh's Contributions to the Flora of Yucatan (Field Col. Mus. Pub., 
No. 4, Bot. series), I find C. pentandra with notes as follows : "Pochote," " Peem," 
Bombax pentandrum Linn., B. ceiba Linn., Eriodendron anfractuosum DC. Plentiful 
throughout the peninsula. Under the general head Bombax, a few lines above, 
occurs : Bombax ceiba, "ceiba" Yaxche, a tree 80 to 100 feet. Dr. Ernst, who was asso- 
ciated with me in making the awards in group 9, W. C. E., 1893, refers "pochote" 
to Eriodendron anfractuosum. 

Celastrus scandens. Climbing Bitter Sweet. 

Exogen. Celastracew. A vine. 

Common in eastern United States, its showy red berries making the species par- 
ticularly marked. It has the habit of twining about other woody plants and even- 
tually embedding itself in their bark so deeply that the spiral form is preserved after 
cutting for canes, etc. 

Fiber. — The bark yields a good fiber, which many years ago was prepared exper- 
imentally by Mr. Phippen, of Salem, and exhibited at the meeting of the Essex 
Institute. 

Cellulose. 

The cellular structure of plants reduced by chemical means and purified ; as an 
example, wood pulp. See Classification, p. 25, group 2, woody fibers, sub group d. 
See also page 20; Corn-pith Cellulose, see Zea mays', Cotton and Wood Cellulose, see 
under Artificial Silk. 

Celmisia coriacea. Leather Plant. "Tekapu." 

Exogen. Composite. 

Hills of South Island, New Zealand. Samples of the thick, leathery leaves of this 
species were received from the Phil. Int. Exh., 1876. " Used for the manufacture of 
garments." My only authority for this species is the exhibition label which accom- 
panied the specimen, and notes made at Kew: "Leaves resemble corn husks, but 
with a silky gloss. The garments are made by weaving together in longitudinal 
layers." 

* Specimens. — Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 



116 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Celosia cristata. 

Exogen. Amarantacece. A slirub. 

India. Cultivated as an ornamental plant. 

Fiber. — "It yields a strong, flexible bast fiber, so bighly esteemed tbat rope made 
of it sells at rive times tbe price of jute rope." Confirmation of this fact is much 
required, and also samples of the plant from which the fiber has been extracted. It 
is known in Bengali as Ldl-murga, but Roxburgh makes no mention of the fiber; 
indeed, with the exception of the notice in Spon's Encyclopaedia quoted above, no 
author, as far as the writer can discover, alludes to the fiber. ( Watt.) 

Celtis australis. 

Exogen. Ulmacecu. A shrub or small tree. 
An Italian species known by the names Arcidiavolo, Bagato. Bagolaro, Bucerata, 
Fragiracolo, Legno da racchette, Loto, Perlaro, Spaccasassi. The bark yields a fiber for 
cordage. (Manual Hoepli.) 

Celtis caucasica. Nettle Tree. 

An Indian species supposed to be a variety of the European nettle tree, C. aus- 
tralis. Baden Powell mentions that the bark is made into cordage. 

Celtis orientalis. 

Now Trema orientalis; formerly referred to Sponia. A very common Indian spe 
cies of nettle tree. " The nether bark consists of numerous reticulated fibers, whieh 
some of the tribes of Assam convert into coarse textile fabrics. C. pMlippinensis, 
in the Philippines, and C. [now Trema] aspera and C. sinensis, in Japan, also afford 
useful fibers." (Spon.) See Trema. 

Century plant (see Agave americana). 

Cerbera odollam. 

Exogen. Apocynacew. 

A genus of trees natives of tropical Asia, and said to be very poisonous, the seeds 
being particularly so. " The inner shell of the drupe is fibrous, partly divided, when 
ripe, into two divisions, and when seen in the dried state resembles a ball of string." 
(Treas. Botany.) 

Bast Fiber. — Watt states that fiber prepared from the bark was sent by the for- 
estry department of Madras to the Amsterdam Exhibition of 1883. 

Surface Fiber. — C. oppositifolia is a Cochin China species held in high esteem in 
pharmacy. From the silky down of the fruit is obtained a substance for wadding. 

Ceroxylon. 

A species of palm found in Peru, which, on the authority of A. Dorca, supplies 
material for cordage and coarse textures. Known locally as Palma de la ccra. 

Chaguar (Arg\). See Bromclia serra. 

Chain creeper (Braz.). See Bauhinia. 

Chain fern (U. S.). Woodwardia radicans. 

Chandla (Ind.). See Antiaris. 

Chat (Hind.).=root, 

Chamaerops humilis. 

Endogen. Palmcp. A dwarf palm. 
This species abounds in Algeria, and is cultivated in southern Europe. It is the 
source of the upholstery material imported into the United States from Algeria under 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 117 

the names African fiber and Crin vegetal. It is a species of palmetto, and is allied to 
the saw or scrub palmetto of Florida and the Southern States. 

Structural Fiber. — Samples of the fiber were received from the Algerian section, 
W. C. E., 1893, and included the twisted ropes of raw fiber, both black and white, 
as imported, with specimens of cordage, vegetable curled hair, etc. The leaves of 
the plant are shredded, and the twisting into strands crinkles the fiber so that ic 
forms a substitute for curled hair proper. 1,000 to 2,000 tons a year are imported 
into this country, in the form of "rope," worth not over $25 per ton, though when 
"picked " or opened, the consumer pays double this price; used as a mattrass fiber. 
See Serenoa serrulata, the allied American species. 

* Specimens. — Field Col. Mus. ; U. S. Nat. Mus. ; Mus. IT. S. Dept. Ag. 

Chanvre (Fr.). Cannabis sativa. 
Charcoal tree (Ind.). See Trema orientalis. 
Cheirostemon platanoides. 

A Mexican tree belonging to the Sterculiacew ; found also in Guatemala and trop- 
ical South America. Its ancient Mexican name is Macpalxochitlqualiuitl, and its 
Peruvian name Huampo. "The fiber, from the bark, is used by the Indians for 
garments" {A. Dorca). 

Chenga. (Afr.). See Brachystegia. 

Chiendent (Fr.). See Epicampes macroura. 

Chikti (Hind.). Triumfetta rkomboidea. 

Chikun (Beng.). See Trema orientalis. 

Chilima (Peru). 

This is the native name of a species of Bombax, the bark of which is said by Dorca 
to yield a very strong fiber. 

China grass (see Boelimeria nivea). 

China jute (see Abutilon avicennw). 

Chinbaune (Burm.). See Hibiscus sabdarijfa. 

Chinela (Peru). See Caladium. 

Ch'ing Ma. China Jute. Abutilon avicennw. 

Chin pat (Ind.). See Crotalaria juncea. 

Chip. 

The trade name of thin strips or shavings of willow and poplar used, when braided, 
as millinery trimmings, or material for hats. 

Chiquechique (Venez.). See Attalea funifera. 
Chitrang (Ind.). See Trema orientalis. 
Chlorogalum pomeridianum. Soap Plant. 

Endogen Uliacece 

California, in the valleys and foothills from the upper Sacramento to Monterey and 
Santa Barbara. The bulb is 1 to 4 inches in diameter, covered with a thick coat of 
coarse dark or brownish fibers resembling the coir of the cocoanut. Recommended 
for culture in Victoria. 

Structural Fiber. — " These fibers are light, elastic, of good strength, and durable. 
They have been separated from the bulbs, especially by the Chinese, and used as hair 



118 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

to till cushions, mattresses, etc., constituting, in places, quite an article of com- 
merce." (Am. Jour. Ph., Dec, 1890.) Also noted in the Botany of California, and 
in Spon's Encyclopedia. 

Chom (Inc.). See Bromelia pinguin, 
Chonta (Peru). See Mastinazia. 
Chorda filum. See under Macrocystis. 
Chorisia insignis. Samohu of Argentina. 

Exogeu. Sterculiacete. Small tree. 
The genus includes a number of South American species, allied to Bombax or the 
silk cottons. Like other better-known producers of vegetable silk or "downs,'' 
they also yield in their bark a good fiber. The bast of this species is employed in 
Argentina. It is known in Peru as Huimbaquiro ceibo, both the down or surface fiber 
and the bast being employed, the latter for cordage. See also note on the species 
under Bromelia scrra. 

Chorisia speciosa. 

This Brazilian species is mentioned in a brochure entitled Notes on Textile Plants 
of Brazil, distributed at the Phil. Int. Exh., 1876. The down or vegetable silk is 
stated to be excellent for winter mattresses and pillows. The tree is known in Bra- 
zil as Arvore de Paina. The species is mentioned by Spon. ''This plant yields a 
fiber of which textures are made which are so much like silk in their luster, fineness, 
and pliableness to be scarcely distinguished from it" (Savorgnan). The tough bark 
of C. crispiftora is also used in Brazil for making native cordage. 

Chouca (Antilles). See Agave vivipara. 
Chrysopogon gryllus. 

Endogen. Graminece. A grass. 
Abounds in southern France and northern Italy. Known in Italy as Barbone and 
Pollinia. From the fibrous roots horse brushes and other coarse brushes, mats, etc., 
are said to be made; also used for thatch material. Classed as a structural fiber. 

Chumese (Ind.). See Crotalaria juncea. 
Chuncu (Peru). Caladium giganteum. 
Churu, or Chord (Braz.). Couratari. 
Chusan palm (Ind.). Trachycarpus fortunei. 
Chu-ts-ao (China). Cannabis sativa. 
Chrysopsis graminifolia. 

Exogen. Composite?. Perennial herb. 
A Southern species found abundantly in the piney woods, particularly in "Wash- 
ington and Tangipahoa parishes of Louisiana. Attention was called to its value 
as a fiber plant by Mr. J. T. Blackwell, who wrote that the blade or leaf was the 
source of fiber. He cultivated the plants in his garden and secured a growth of 
three feet. Estimated yield of fiber, 150 pounds to the acre, which would uot pay 
for cultivation, while the fiber itself is of doubtful value. 

Cibotium barometz. ) m _^ 

. .. > Tree Ferns. 
menziesn. ) 

Syn. Diclsouia barometz and V. menzietii. 

A small genus ranging over Mexico and Central America, the Hawaiian and 
Philippine Islands, Sumatra, southern China, and India. 






DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 119 

Surface Fiber. — "The base of tlie leafstalks is densely covered with a soft and 
glossy yellowish wool, used for stuffing mattresses and pillows, and which, under 
the name of pulu, forms a regular article of export to California from Hawaii. The 
wool of C. barometz, from tropical Asia, and of Dicksonia culcita, from the Atlantic 
islands, serves for similar purposes and has also found a limited employment in 
surgery for stanching bleeding from ulcers or wounds. The hairs consist of a single 
series of flat thin-walled cells which break readily at the joints, the cells being 
shortest in C. chamissoi and longest in C. menziesii. C. glaucum is a rare species, 
though found in most of the Hawaiian Islands. The pulu, as to gloss and curl, is 
intermediate between menziesii and chamissoi. (Hillebrand.) 

Spon mentions C. barometz, but ignores the other species, or confounds the four as 
one, stating that each plant yields about 2 to 3 ounces of the fiber, which occupies about 
four years in production. The gathering is a very slow and tedious operation. 
When picked the fiber is wet, and has to be laid out on the rocks or on mats to dry. 
In favorable weather this may be effected in a day or two ; but in the habitat of the 
plant rains prevail, so that the fiber is often brought in a wet state to market, even 
after several weeks' " drying." "The application of the fiber is as a substitute for 
feathers and horsehair for stuffing purposes. The exports from Honolulu in 1878 
were 212,740 pounds, of which Australia and New Zealand took 181,070 pounds and 
the Pacific ports of the United States 31,670 pounds." (Spon.) 

C. menziesii produces the best fiber. On Hawaii this species, with chamissoi and 
glaucum, formed extensive thickets, which have, however, been nearly cleared away 
by the pulu gatherers, who sacrifice whole trees to get at the fiber without difficulty. 
The fallen trunks send out lateral shoots, but full-grown trees are now rare. Native 
names, Hapui Hi and He'd. The "golden moss" of the Chinese is produced by 
C. chamissoi, glaucum, and Dicksonia culcita. In Salvador and Costa Rica the natives 
make use of the vegetable wool of a species of Cibotium, common to all Central 
America. 

Cigarette bast (see Lecythis ollaria). 

Cipo imbe of Rernardm (Braz.). See PMlodendron. 

Cipo means a tropical climber, though sometimes root; frequently used. 

Civil (Mex.). See Malvaviscus. 
Clematis dioica. Traveler's Joy. 

Exogen. Eanunculacece. Climber. 
"Native of West Indies and tropicaLAinerica. This Jamaican clematis is a climber 
with ternate leaves, greenish-white flowers, and the numerous seed vessels termi- 
nating in a long, feathery tail. A decoction of the root in sea water mixed with 
wine is said to act as a powerful purge in hydropic cases. Stems used as withes for 
tying." (Faivcett.) 

Clematis triloba. 

India, mountains of the Deccan and West Konkan. Watt recognizes seven species 
of Clematis in the Die. Ec. Prod, of Ind. Under this species he says: "The above 
species of Clematis yield fibers which are regularly used for agricultural purposes, 
and although authors allude to the medicinal properties of only one or two species, 
they are all more or less used by the natives of the hill districts." 

Clinogyne dichotoma (see Maranta). 

Coast Sword Rush (Austr.). Lepidosperma gladiatum. 

Cochlospermum gossypium. White Silk Cotton Tree. 

Exogen. Bixacece. A small tree. 
This genus is represented in tropical India, Africa, America, and northei-n Aus- 
tralia. C. gossypium is an Indian species, yielding gum. oil, fiber, and medicine. 



120 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Surface Fiber. — The seeds possess a short hut very soft and elastic floss, from 
■which fact the plant has received its specific name. This floss is much too short to 
he of any service as a textile, hut, with the flosses of llombax malabaricum, Erioden- 
dron avfractuosum, and Calotropis gigantea, it has been classed as a "silk cotton." 
In some parts of India the floss of this tree is collected and used for stuffing pillows, 
for which purpose it would seem hetter suited than the floss from llombax malabar- 
icum, as it is not so liahle to get matted. It might he found serviceable as a gnn 
cotton. (Watt.) 

Among South American species yielding silk cotton may he mentioned C. liibis- 
coides, in Venezuela "called carncstolendas, i. e., Lent, the large yellow flowers 
unclosing about that time" (Ernst). C. insigne is a native of Brazil. 

Cochlospermum tinctorium. 

Native of Yoruhaland, west Africa, where it is known as Fe-ru or Bawaye. " Bark 
makes good rope, largely used as such by Yorubas and Houssas; plentiful; sufficient 
supply for export; not cultivated." (Kew Bull., Aug., 1891). 

Cocoa, or Chocolate tree. (See Theobroma cacao.) 

Cocoanut fiber (see Cocos nucifera). 

Coco (see Cocos nucifera). 

Coco de mer (Seychelles). See Lodoicea callipyge. 

Coco de mono (Yenez). See Lecythis. 

Cocos butyracea. 

Endogen. Palmo?. 
This is a United States of Columbia and Peruvian species, chiefly useful as yield- 
ing a toddy. Dorca states that a fiber is extracted from its leaves fit for ropes and 
coarse textures. C. oleracea gives a similar fiber. 

Cocos crispa. 

A Cuban palm, which appears to have been more or less confounded with ./ crocomia 
lasiospatha by. past writers on West Indian fiber-producing plants. Squier describes 
the Corosol, CoyoJ, or Corojo palm of Cuba, while Bernardin mentions the Corojo de 
la tena, Cuba, as Cocos urispa, doubtless a misprint for crispa. Dr. Ernst refers 
Corozo to Elccis melanococca. In my list, published in the Ann. Rept. U. S. Dept. Ag., 
1879, p. 551, the fiber referred to under the name C. crispa has since beeu determined 
as the product of Acrocomia lasiospatlia. 

Cocos datil. 

A palm found in Argentina and particularly in Entre Rios. According to Nieder- 
lein, the fiber is "used by the natives for the fabrication of baskets, hats, etc.," the 
leaves being employed for this purpose. The Brazilian palm, known m common 
parlance as datil, is another species. 

Cocos nucifera. Cocoanut. 

NATIVE Names. — The fiber is known to commerce as coir, kair, and cocoa liber. The 
names of the plant are as various as the countries in which it grows. Among the 100 
or more appellations that have been used to designate it, the following may be given 
as representative: Iu the Malay Archipelago it is called Anocr ; Djai soi, in Borneo; 
h'cJpo, etc., Java; Jouze-hiudie, Arab. ; Narkol, Xasil, etc., Beng. ; Oteri, New Guinea; 
Sinlo-Eawa, Jap.; Nodi, Xali or Nari, Eera, Sanskrit, etc. See Xarel in Catalogue. 

There is hardly a tropical country on the face of the globe where the cocoa palm 
docs not flourish, and it is impossible to ascertain its native country, though it is 
thought to be indigenous in some parts of Asia, perhaps southern India. In the Coro- 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



121 



man del and Malabar districts, and in the adjacent islands, it grows in the greatest 
luxuriance, preferring the sandy and rocky seashores to the higher country, though 
it is often found some distance inland. It is common in Africa, and abounds in Amer- 
ica and tho West India Islands. Dr. Parry found it plentiful on the island of Santo 
Domingo, where it forms groves on the sandy beaches at the outlet of mountain 
streams, and bears fruit abundantly. It is found in southern Florida, 20,000 trees 
having been planted on Long, Lignum-vitae, and Sands keys alone, while examples 
80 feet high and 50 years old are found at the mouth of the Miami Eiver. Grows to 
100 feet. Fig. 1, PI. IV, is from a pho- 
tograph of a tree about 7 years old, 
growing on Long Key. 

Its extensive geographical distribu- 
tion is accounted for by the fact that 
the tree growing in such close prox- 
imity to the sea the fruits falling on 
the beach are washed away by the 
waves and afterwards cast upon some 
far distant shore, where they readily 
vegetate. It is in this way that the 
coral islands in the Indian Ocean have 
been covered with these palms. 

Structural Fiber. — Coir fiber ap- 
pears in the form of large, stiff, and 
very elastic filaments, each individual 
of which is round, smooth, very clean, 
resembling horsehair. It posesses a 
remarkable tenacity and curls easily. 
Its color is a cinnamon brown. These 
filaments are bundles of fibers, which, 
when treated with the alkaline bath 
and ground in a mortar, are with diffi- 
culty separated by the needles for mi- 
croscopic examination. 

The individual fibers are short and 
stiff, their walls very thick, notwith- 
standing which this thickness does 
not equal the size of the interior canal. 
The surface does not appear smooth ; 
it is often sinuous and the profile ap- 
pears dentated. The diameter is not 
very regular. The points terminate 
suddenly and are not sharp. The walls 
appear broken in places as if they were pierced with fibers, corresponding with the 
fissures of the sections. 

Economic considerations. — The fiber of the cocoa palm is contained in the husk 
of the nut, fig. 42, which is composed of a mass of coir, as the separated, fiber is called. 
The husks are removed by forcing the nuts upon sharp iron or wooden spikes fixed 
in the ground ? one man being able to remove the husks from 1,000 nuts daily. The 
proper time for cutting the fruit is in the tenth month, as the fruit must not be 
allowed to get thoroughly ripe, for the fiber becomes coarser and more difficult to 
twist, and. must remain longer in the soaking pits, whijh is a disadvantage, as the 
fiber is rendered darker. These pits in some of the islands are merelv holes in the 
sand, and the nuts lie under the influence of salt water a year, kept from floating 
away by large stones placed over them. Sometimes the nuts are soaked in fresh- 
water tanks, and, as the water is not changed, it becomes in time very foul and 
dark colored, which affects the color of the coir. After soaking, the fiber is readily 




Fig. 41.— Cocoanut tree, Cape Florida. 



122 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



extracted by beating. Fresb water is said to weaken tbe liber, and, in fact, too long 
soaking will produce this result iu any event. The coir from tbe islands of Kadamat, 
Kelton, and Cbetlat, in the Laccadives, is said to be of the best description, and the 
manufacture into cordage is done entirely by women. After it is taken from the pit 
and sufficiently beaten, the extraneous matter is separated from the fibrous portion 
by rubbing between the hands. After it is thoroughly cleaned, it is arranged into a 
loose roving preparatory to being twisted, which is done in a very ingenious manuer 
between the palms of the hands, so that it produces a yarn of two strands at once. 
According to the old, native system of treatment, the nuts sometimes remained in the 
pits eighteen months. The best commercial coir of to-day is obtained by better meth- 
ods, and the soaking is accomplished in tanks of stone, brick, iron, or wood, the 
water being warmed by steam, which shortens the duration of the treatment very 
materially. "Where machinery is used (in the after processes), the husks, when 
sufficiently soaked, are passed through a crushing mill, which flattens and crushes 
them ready for the extractor, or breakiug-down machine. In the latter the niters 
are completely disintegrated, and are then passed through a 'willowing ' machine, to 
free them from dust and refuse. It is calculated that when treated in England 

10,000 husks will produce 45 to 50 cwt. of 
spinning fiber and 9 to 13 cwt. of brush liber. 
In the process of separating the liber, the fol- 
lowing commercial qualities are produced: 
The mat, or long fibers used for spinning pur- 
poses; the shorter, or more stubborn libers 
(bristles), for brooms or brushes; the tow or 
curled fiber for stuffing cushions, and the dust 
or refuse for gardening purposes. When dyed 
black, the tow has been used as a substitute 
for horsehair. A singular use was proposed 
a short time ago for cocoanut dust or refuse. 
Taken before it is quite dry. and subjected to 
great pressure, it is capable of forming plates 
of varying thickness, like millboard, only 
much more brittle. These boards, if used as 
backing for steel plates of ironclads, swell up 
on being puuetured below the water line and 
soon close the orifice. If really effective, such 
plates could be produced at a trifling cost, 
for thousands of tons of cocoanut refuse float 
away annually down the rivers in India and 
See also Corn-pith Cellulose for this purpose, under Zea 




Fig. 42. — Section of a cocoanut. a, the 
husk containing the fiber ; b, the fruit, 
or edible portion. 



(Dr. Aforris.) 



elsewhere 
mays. 

Three large coast cocoanuts will yield 1 pound of coir, measuring about 130 feet, 
whereas 10 small inland nuts are required for 1 pound, but it will give over 200 feet. 
Two pounds of such yarn, averaging from 70 to 75 fathoms, are made up into sooties, 
of which there are 14 in a bundle, averaging about a niaund (28 pounds). A Manga- 
lore candy (560 pounds) will thus be the produce of 5,600 nuts, and should contain 
20,000 fathoms a20,000 feet) of yarn. 

Coir fiber is used by the Spaniards of the South Seas instead of oakum for calking 
their vessels, and it is claimed that it will never rot. Coarse cloth is sometimes 
made from the fiber which is used for sails. The principal use of coir, however, in 
the commercial world is for cordage and matting. " The character of coir has long 
been established in the East, and is now in Europe, as one of the best materials for 
cables, on account of its lightness as well as elasticity." Ships furnished with coir 
cables have been known to ride out a storm in security while the stronger made, hut 
less elastic, ropes of the other vessels snapped like pack thread. Coir cables were 
used extensivelv in the Indian seas until chain cables were introduced. It is rougher 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 123 

to handle and not so neat looking as hemp rigging, hnt it is well suited to running 
rigging where lightness and elasticity are desired, as for the more lofty sheets; it, 
however, is too elastic for standing rigging. In vessels of 600 tons it is generally 
used for lower rigging. 

Tests of coir cordage by Dr. Wright gave the following results : Hibiscus canna- 
binus broke with 190 pounds strain, coir broke with 224 pounds, but bowstring 
hemp (Sanseviera zeijlanica) required a strain of 316 pounds to break it. In another 
series of experiments, made at the office of the marine board of Calcutta, plain coir 
stood a strain of 823 pounds, when a remarkably fine specimen of European hemp 
stood 1,967 pounds. In this test the coir stood No. 12 in strength and No. 1 in elas- 
ticitj r , stretching 32 inches against 9-£ inches for the hemp. Unfortunately the 
length of rope was not given, though its size was 1£ inches in circumference. 

Economic uses of the cocoa palm. — The cocoa palm has other uses than for 
fiber which are of sufficient interest, in connection with its textile uses, to briefly 
mention. The cocoanuts are sometimes used for illuminating purposes, to light 
roads, and an excellent charcoal is yielded by the burnt shells. These in their entire 
state are manufactured into a great variety of vessels for household use. The tree 
itself is used in the manufacture of small boats, frames for houses, rafters, spear 
handles, furniture, and fancy articles of different kinds. It is exported under the 
name of porcupine wood. " The Cingalese split the fronds in halves and plait the 
leaves so nicely as to make excellent baskets, and they form the usual covering of 
their huts, as well as the bungalows of the Europeans." These dried fronds also 
furnish fuel and are used for torches, or they are made into brooms by tying the 
midribs together. The leaves furnish mats, baskets, and screens, and combs are 
made of the midribs of the leaflets in the Friendly Isles. Mats are also made of the 
cocoanut leaf cut out of the heart of the tree, which are described of fine quality 
and used in the Laccadive Islands as sails for their boats. A downy fiber is also 
taken from the plant which is used to stanch the blood in wounds after the manner 
of lint. 

Cocoanut oil is one of the best-known products of the palm, especially as it is 
employed in the manufacture of stearine candles. In the East it is employed as 
lamp oil, and also for anointing the body. Fifteen cocoanuts produce about 2 
quarts of oil. The drink known as toddy, or palm wine, is derived from the flower 
spathes before they have expanded. It is also distilled and produces an intoxicating 
liquor, or arrack. It is also made into vinegar, or, if it is not allowed to ferment, 
may be made to yield jaggery, or sugar, which is brown and coarse. 

The collection of the Department contains a full series of coir in the various stages 
of preparation, as the husk, the loose fiber, yarn, rope, matting, brushes, and coir, 
or " curled hair," used for upholstering. It is much esteemed in India for stuffing 
mattresses and cushions for couches and saddles. Very little raw fiber is now 
imported into the United States. An interesting fiber specimen is a network of 
fibers taken from the petiole of the leaf. As seen upon the tree at the bases of the 
young fronds, it is beautifully white and transparent, but at maturity it becomes 
tough and coarse and of the same color as coir. It may be stripped off in large 
pieces, and the fibers are so straight and cross each other so regularly that they are 
used to strain cocoanut oil or palm wine. 

It is doubtful if the production of native coir fiber will ever become an American 
industry, although I am informed by T. Albee Smith, of Baltimore, that machinery 
for extracting the fiber is already available. The palms grow well in southern 
Florida, and while already producing nuts the cocoanut industry has assumed no 
importance, though a single company in Massachusetts, extracts the fiber from im- 
ported nuts. 

References. — Probably the best account of this useful plant, with a treatise upon 
its cultivation, uses in the domestic and industrial economy, etc., will be found in 
Vol. II, Die. Ec. Prod. Ind. 

* /Specimens can be seen in the Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 



124 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Cocos urispa. 

I include this species on the authority of M. Bernardin. Two varieties of Corojo 
are given in Bernardin's Catalogue, the "Corojo de la teua v from Cuha stated to he 
u Cocos urispa," and the Corojo, Corozo, or Coeoyal from Central America, without 
name. See C. crispa. 

Cocotcro (Mex.). See Cocos nucifera. 

Coeoyal (Oeut. Am.). See Acrocomia. 

Cocuiza (Venez.). Furcraa gigantea. 

Cocuy (Yenez.). See Agave americana. 

Coir. Fiber of Cocos nucifera. 

Cokerite palm (Braz.). See Maximiliana regia. 

Colocasia antiquorum. 

A genus of Aracew, allied to Caladium. The species named is cultivated in most 
tropical countries as a food plant, hoth its leaves and tubers being eaten. It fur- 
nishes the " Poi" of the Sandwich Islands. Is only interesting here from the fact 
that fiber prepared from the plant in Mauritius was sent to the Vienna Exposition 
of 1873, similar specimens being exhibited in the Kew Mus. 

Colorado River hemp (IT. S.). See Sesbania macrocarpa. 

Commersonia fraseri. Tie Plant of Australia. 

Exogen. Sterculiacece. A small tree. 

A Victoria species known in some sections as Blackfellow's hemp. It is a tall 
shrub or small tree, and abounds on the banks of rivers and creeks. The hark is 
used extensively by the settlers as a tying material. It yields a fine fiber suitable 
for matting and cordage, and a good quality of paper could doubtless be made from it. 

Bast Fiber. — The museum specimen was obtained from the Victorian collection, 
Phil. Int. Exh., 1876, and was prepared by Dr. Guilfoyle. The fiber is quite dark, 
due probably- to insufficient bleaching, but is strong and not very brittle, and 
although the filaments are stiff, they'exhibit under the magnifying glass a very 
fibrous nature, some of them being fine and lustrous ; is inferior to Hibiscus fiber. It 
measures between 2 and 5 feet in length. 

Commersonia echinata. 

A sample of this bast fiber was secured from the New South "Wales Exhibit, Phil. 
Int. Exh., 187G, labeled "Brown Kurrijong," by which name it is said to he known 
to the colonists. The name has been applied by other authorities to C. platyphylla. 
"The fiber of C. echinata is of a very tenacious nature, and is preferred to all others 
by the aborigines for making nets." The fiber is quite dark and does not appear to 
be quite as strong as that from C. fraseri. 

Copernicia cerifera. Camauba palm. 

Endogen. Palmce. Height, 40 feet. 

The genus includes six species-of palms inhabiting tropical America. The Car- 
nauba or wax palm is a Brazilian species about 40 feet high, with a trunk 8 inches 
thick. u It has been recommended for culture in Victoria. It resists drought to a 
remarkable degree and thrives on a somewhat saline soil." (Spon.) 

Structural Fiber. — The leaves are utilized in a variety of native manufactures. 
The museum series includes the leaf, plaited into hats, mats, etc. ; the leaf reduced 
to filaments and made into rope and small cordage ; small baskets and other brie- 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 125 

a-brac made from dark-brown piassaba-like libers probably from the leafspathe, and 
other objects, including fence material from the leaf stems. The leaves are also 
used as a thatching material. 

Other uses. — The young leaves are coated with a yellow wax. which is readily 
collected by jarring or shaking and used for candles. A farina and a starch are also 
prepared from the bulbous root, while the rootlets produce a medicine. The seeds 
are a substitute for coffee. A beverage is also yielded by this palm, and the young 
branches are food for cattle and sheep. 

Specimens. — Complete economic series. Mus. U. S. l>ept. Ag. 

Coquilla palm (Braz.). Attalea funifera. 
Coquito palm (Chili). See Jubcea. 
Corchorus spp. 

This genus of Tiliacece numbers between 40 and 50 species of herbaceous plants 
that are found in both hemispheres, growing in subtropical and tropical climes. The 
genus is particularly interesting on account of two India species that supply commer- 
cial fibers to the extent of milions of dollars annually, C. capsularis and C. olitorius. 
Other species indigenous or growing in India that are mentioned by Dr. Watt are C. 
acutangulus, fiber coarse; C.antichorus, fiber indifferent : C. fascicularis, fiber has been 
employed for ropes; C. tridens, locally used for rough cordage: and C. trilocularis, 
said to furnish a fair cordage fil>er. 

The only species worthy of mention that are found in the Western Hemisphere are 
C. siliquosus, which see, and C. (vsluans, which Savorgan, quoting Miraglia, states "'is 
cultivated in equatorial America on an equality with flax and hemp for its fine fiber." 
The author does not know that this species is considered as a fiber plant ; it is not 
found in the United States. The commercial species are described below. 

Corchorus capsularis. ) T T . , r 

.rT Jute, Jew s Mallow. . 

olitorius. ) ' 

Exogens. Tiliacece. Tall shrubs, 8 to 15 feet. 

Found wild or in cultivation throughout the hotter parts of India, in which coun- 
try the two species are supposed to be indigenous. Cultivated by the Malays, and 
by the Chinese to a limited extent, and have been introduced into the United States. 
C. olitorius has been naturalized in all parts of the tropics as far north as the shores 
of the Mediterranean. It is also grown in Egypt and Syria as a pot herb, hence the 
name Jew's mallow. It should be noted, however, that the commercial fiber known 
as China jute is not jute at all, but is derived from Abut Hon a rice nun. a plant kno^n as 
a common American weed. (See.) The commercial species of Corchorus were intro- 
duced into the United States by the Department of Agriculture about 1870, and the 
plants were found to thrive in cultivation all along the line of Gulf States and in 
South Carolina and Florida, though they have not yet been grown to a commercial 
extent. Passing by the vast literature of the two species as recorded in the Report 
on the Cultivation of Jute in Bengal, 1874, by Mr. Kerr, in the Diet. Ec. Prod. Ind., 
in the Kew Bulletin, and other British publications, the two plants will only be 
considered here from an economic standpoint, and will be treated together as supply- 
ing the jute of commerce. 

Jute doubtless takes its name from the Sanskrit, as the words "jhont," "jhot," and 
"jhat" are all derived from the Sanskrit "jhat," meaning --to be entangled." One 
form of the root is jat, and from it are produced jata im&juta, both meaning "matted 
hair." The name "jute'" was first used by Dr. Roxburgh. The Bengal name of the 
plant is "pat" or "paat;" the fiber, "jute;" the cloth, " tat choiee" and " megila." 
The Malays call the plant "rami tsjina," and the Chinese name is "oi-moa." The 
native names, however, are legion, almost half a hundred names being recognized in 
different districts of India, where the plants are cultivated. 



126 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



Botanical considerations. — Corchorus capsularis is an annual plant, growing 
from 5 to 10 feet high, with a cylindrical stalk as thick as a man's finger, and seldom 
branching except near the top. The leaves, which are of a light-green color, are 
about 4 to 5 inches long by H inches broad toward the base, but tapering upward 
into a long sharp point with edges cut into saw-like teeth, the two teeth next the 
stalk being prolonged into bristle-like points. The flowers are small and of a whitish- 
yellow color, coming out in clusters of two or three together opposite the leaves. 
The seed pods are short and globular, rough and wrinkled. The second species, the 
C. olitorius, is precisely similar to the last in general appearance, shape of leaves, 
color of flower, and habits of growth; but it differs entirely in the formation of the 
seed pod, which, in this species, is elongated (about 2 inches long), almost cylin- 
drical, and about the thickness of a quill. See PL V, fig. 1. See also figs. 43 and 44. 
Different kinds of jute. — Hem Chunder Kerr, in the Report on the Cultivation 
of and Trade in Jute in Bengal, 1874, states that among the many varieties of jute 
the most common are known by the names (a) Uttariya, (b) Deswal, (c) Desi, (d) Deora, 
(e) Narainganji, (f) Bdkrdbadi, (g) Bhatial, (li) Karimganji, (i) Mirganji, (j) Jang- 
ipuri. These are described by Mr. Kerr as follows: 

(a) The first variety is by far the best. 
It is called Uttariya, or northern jute, be- 
cause it comes from the districts to the 
north of Serajgungee. The districts are 
Rungpore, Goalparah Bogra, parts of My- 
mensing, Cooch Behar, and Julpigoori. 
This jute recommends itself to the trade by 
its possessing to the greatest extent those 
XDroperties which are essentially necessary 
in fiber intended for spinning, namely, 
length, color, and strength. It is some- 
times, however, found to be weak, and it is 
never equal to the Desi and Desical descrip- 
tions in softness. A superior quality of j ute 
is produced, chiefly for domestic use, by the 
Hajung and Koch tribes of hill people. It 
comes into the market so late as Xovember. 
(&) Xext in commercial value is the 
Deswal jute. It goes down fairly with the 
trade on account of fineness, softness, bright 
color, and strength. It is stated, however, 
to have deteriorated to a certain extent 
within the last two or three years from the 
inefficient system of drainage in the new 
fields where it is grown. The fiber has become shorter and more rooty, and lately 
weaker also. Its name implies that it is the native jute of Serajgungee and its 
neighborhood. Such of it as is grown on beels is called Bilan, and what is raised in 
churs is known by the name of Cham a : but in Calcutta they pass under the generic 
name of Desical. It first comes into the market in Sravana. that is, about the latter 
end of July or beginning of August. 

(c) The Desi jute is the produce of Hooghly, Burdwan, Jessore, and 24-Pergun^ 
nahs. It is of a long, fine, and soft fiber. If its defects, which are stated to be 
fuzziness and bad color, were removed, it is believed by men experienced in the 
trade that its market value would be very much improved. 

(77) The staple known under the name of Deora comes from Furreedpore and Back- 
ergunge. Its name is due to a village in Furreedpore, where formerly there was a 
large mart. The village has dwindled down to insignificance now, but all the prod- 
uce of the district, as also of the neighboring district of Backergunge, is known by 
its name. The bulk of the liber of this class is strong, coarse, black, and rooty, and 




Fig. 43 — -Seed vessels of Corchorus capsularis. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



127 



much overspread with runners. This fiber is used for the manufacture of rope. Its 
value would rise if the dealers would refrain from pouring water on the prepared 
fiber, which they are said to do in order to increase the weight of their consign- 
ments. Occasionally small batches of this jute are met with of a very superior 
quality. 

(e) The Narainganji jute, which is brought from Aralia, Kurimgunge, and other 
jute centers, locally called Mokams. of the Naraingunge mart, is mostly the produce 
of the district of Dacca. It is very good for spinning, being strong, soft, and long; 
but from some neglect in steeping, the fiber, by the time it reaches Calcutta, changes 
its original color into a brown or foxy tint, which detracts from its value. 

(/) The finest description of Dacca jute is the Balrabadi fiber, which is raised on 
the churs of the river Megna. It excels particularly in color and softness. 

(g) The Bhatial jute is also the produce of the district of Dacca, and comes to Cal- 
cutta from Naraingunge. It is grown on churs, and is called Bhatial because it is 
imported to Naraingunge from the south or 
tidal side (Bhati) of that place. It is very 
coarse, but strong, and is to a certain extent 
in demand in the British markets for the 
manufacture of rope. 

(It) Karimganji, in the Mymensing district, 
gives its name to a very fine description of 
jute which is grown there. It is usually 
long, very strong, and of good color, par- 
taking to some extent of the nature of the 
Naraingunge of Decca jute. 

(?) The produce of Eungpore, though 
large, is generally of medium quality, and 
the worst kind of it comes from Mirgunge, 
on the Teesta, whence its name Mirganji. 

(j) The produce of a portion of the Pubna 
district is known by the name of Jangipuri, 
so called from a small village of that name. 
It is of short fiber, weak, and of a foxy color, 
most objectionable for spinning. 

Historical. — Jute has been known and 
cultivated since remote times in India, par- 
ticularly in the lower provinces, but its 
employment as a textile by the nations of 
the earth is an industry that belongs to the 
present century. It was first recognized 
under a separate head in the custom-house 

records of the Indian Government in 1828, though the fiber had been sent to the Euro- 
pean market in trifling quantities during the two or three previous decades. In 1793 
the East India Company sent to England 100 tons of the fiber under the name "pat." 
In the warehouse committee's report on this shipment it was stated that "some of 
the most eminent dealers declare that it is not hemp, but a species of flax, superior 
in quality to any known to the trade." The first exports as jute, in the year named 
above, amounted to but 18 tons. In 1850-51 the total exports, including jute rope, 
had reached 30,000 tons, and in 1871-72, 310,000 tons. At this time 35 districts of 
India were cultivating 800,000 acres in jute, more than one-half of this area lying in 
nine districts of northern Bengal. 

Up to this date hemp and flax had been used to bale the cotton crop of the United 
States, and jute as an article of import occupied a very small place. The year 1872, 
however, saw the native fibers superseded by the India product, particularly iu the 
West, resulting in the almost total destruction of the industries they represented. 
As already shown, the present imports of the fiber into this country are enormous, 




Fig. 44. — Seed vessels of Corchorus olitorius. 



128 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



while the exports of raw fiber to all countries from India amounted in 1894-95 to 
nearly 049,000 tons, the exports of manufactures also showing large figures. The 
interest in jute cultivation in this country had its beginning just prior to the time 
that the fiber began to be largely imported. The Department of Agriculture 
directed attention to the culture as early as 1869, and in 1869-70 procured from 
France and India a quantity of the seed for distribution. As a result, hundreds of 
small cultural experiments were conducted in the South from the Carolinas to Texas, 
and ample proof was secured that the plant was well adapted to growth in the 
United States. 

Bast Fiber. — Were it not for its fineness, silkiness, and adaptability for spinning, 
with the easy cultivation of the plant, jute would not to-day hold the position it 

has secured in the indus- 
trial economy, for, com- 
pared with the other 
textiles, it is very infer- 
ior. Several American 
plants that are classed 
as weeds produce better 
and stronger fiber, but 
their cultivation and 
preparation are yet mat- 
ters of experiment. One 
defect of jute is the diffi- 
culty to spin it into the 
higher numbers. Its 
durability is also against 
it, as the fiber can not 
stand dampness, and 
under the best condi- 
tions rapidly deterior- 
ates. The bleached fiber 
also loses its whiteness 
and in time oxidizes un- 
til it presents a dingy, 
yellowish-brown color. 
Its strength is inferior 
to most fibers, though 
it is amply strong for the 
<<>arse uses to which it 
ia commonly put, such 
as the manufacture of 
gunny sacks, cotton bag- 
ging, etc., where durability is of less consequence than primary cheapness. 

Samples of the fiber exposed for two hours to steam at 2 atmospheres, followed by 
boiling in water for three hours, and again steamed for four hours, lost 21.39 per 
cent by weight, being about three times as great a los^ as that suffered by hemp, 
manila hemp, phormium, or coir. A similar test of jute with llax. hemp, ramie, and 
other fibers showed as great a loss, while flax lost less than 4 per cent and ramie a 
small fraction under 1 per cent. 

Specimens of jute grown in this country experimentally have been found for the 
most part Buperior to the imported fiber, and with the more careful cultivation aud 
preparation that would be given it would no doubt command a better market price 
and be employed in higher manufactures. 

Uses of the Jrj i r. Fiber.— This is employed in three forms of manufacture— weav- 
ing into fine and coarse fabrics, in tin- making of line twines and cordage, ami in 




Fig. 45. — Plant of jute, Corchorus eapsvlaris. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 129 

paper manufacture; the latter chiefly from "jute butts and rejections." In Europe 
the fiber enters into a great variety of fabrics or cloths, such as curtains and uphol- 
stery, carpets, etc., and even sheetings and imitations of silk fabrics. It has been 
applied extensively as a substitute for hemp. For this purpose the fibers are ren- 
dered soft and flexible by being sprinkled with water and oil, in the proportion of 20 
tons of water and 24- tons of train oil to 100 tons of jute. Sprinkled with this the 
jute is left for twenty-four to forty-eight hours, when, after being squeezed by rollers 
and hackled, the tibers become beautifully soft and minutely isolated, and thereby 
suited for a number of purposes unknown a few years ago. Its perishable nature is 
fatal to its obtaining a position much higher than it has already attained, and prob- 
ably admixture of jute in certain articles, such as sailcloths, must sooner or later be 
viewed as a criminal offense. 

In coarser woven goods it appears as webbing, burlap, and cotton-bagging stuff. 
Its use in fine and coarse twines, binding twine, sash cord, etc., is very large, while 
it is also used extensively in the smaller sizes of rope. Because of its fineness and 
luster, coupled with its cheapness, it is frequently used to adulterate the manufac- 
tures from better fibers, and on account of the tendency to rapid deterioration already 
noted such use is plainly fraud. When employed in hemp twines in this manner, it 
is artificially given the dark color of hemp, its natural color being a light-salmon. 
Binding twine is sometimes made of this fiber, colored to resemble hemp, and sold 
at a good price under a fancy trade name. 

Cultivation. — The largest areas in India are found in Bengal, where there is a wide 
diversity in soil and climate, and where high lands, low lands, recent alluvial for- 
mations along rivers (known in India as "churs" — mud banks and islands), dry 
* lands, humid lands, and even cleared bamboo jungle have been all more or less culti- 
vated in jute. These lands are classified in India under two general heads— first, 
"Suna," high land, which is generally reserved for the cultivation of fruit trees, 
pulses, vegetables, tobacco, sugarcane, and early rice; and, second, "SaTi," or the 
lowlands upon which the late rice crop is produced. 

The great bulk of jute that comes from the central and some of the eastern districts 
is grown on "churs" and on inferior soil, but in the "desi," or the littoral districts, a 
larger proportion is grown inland than on the banks of the rivers. In the early days of 
this cultivation, however, when jute was raised for home consumption only, it used to 
be grown only on raised lands close to the grower's homestead. On the whole, the 
balance of evidence is decidedly in favor of high or "siina'" lands as the best for 
jute, provided all the other conditions necessary for its healthy growth be attaina- 
ble, but that lowlands and "churs" are not unsuited, "churs" ranking midway 
between the two. (Hem Chun der Kerr.) 

In the district of Burdwan the plant is grown on soil composed of rich clay and 
sand in equal proportions. In Mymensing it grows on "soil consisting of a mixture 
of clay and sand, or sand combined with alluvial deposit;" in Backergunge, "on 
loam mixed with a little sand;" in Cooch Behar, "on soil with a certain admixture 
of sand;" in Tipperah, "on loamy and sandy soil;" in Pubna, "'on land which is 
neither inundated nor dry, the soil being loam, i. e., half clay and half sand." On 
the other hand, the jute plant appears not to be averse to clayey soil. It grows in 
the Barripore subdivision of the Twenty-Four Pergunnahs "on matial or clayey 
soil;" in Hooghly, according to the district officer and Baboo Joykissen Mookerjee, 
"on clayey soil," which, in their opinion, is "best suited for jute cultivation;" in 
Moorshedabad, also on "clayey soil," which is considered there, too, to be "best 
adapted for jute;" in Noakhally, "on high land, the soil of which is called attalia," 
i. e., stiff and sticky; and in Cuttack, "on high land, rich and clayey." It also 
thrives in ferruginous soil, as in Bhowal, in the district of'Dacca, where jute is pretty 
largely cultivat d; and the fiber produced there is considered to be among the best 
kinds which find their way to the markets of Dacca andNaraingunge. As a summary, 
it may be said that in India rich alluvial lands give the best results, particularly in 
12247— No. 9 9 



130 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

connection with a hot, damp atmosphere and heavy rainfall. A light, sandy soil, 
however, is not suited to the plant. Dr. George Watt states, briefly, that "a hot, 
damp climate, in which there is not too much actual rain, especially in the early part 
of the season, is the most advantageous.'' The most congenial conditions are alter- 
nate sunshine and rain, and even excessive rain after the plant has reached a height 
of several feet is not injurious if water does not lodge at the roots. The effect of 
such lodgment, or from the plants standing in water, is the growth of suckers, which 
causes defective fiber. Drought stunts the plant and also injures the fiber. In the 
preparation of the soil much depends upon its constituents, heavy or clayey lands 
requiring more plowings than the lighter, sandy, or alluvial lands. The soil is 
thoroughly broken up and finely pulverized, and with heavy soils much is accom- 
plished in this direction by the action of the elements — the sun particularly. The 
preparation therefore commences in November or December, some authorities say 
September, though it may be put off until February and March, and even as late as 
June. Four to twelve plowings are usually given, and at the last plowing all weeds 
and other trash are collected, dried, and burned. Due allowance should be made, 
however, for the rude aud primitive implements that are called plows in many parts 
of India. The ground is also harrowed, or the clods broken with a mattock. The 
soil for early sown jute is sometimes laid with manure, but this is never the case with 
the later sown crops. Iu the Hooghly district fresh earth and cow dung are used for 
manure, but the poor soils are treated to oil cake. In localities where the ryot is too 
poor to own a plow and cattle the land is turned with a hoe. As a rule, the oftener 
and more thoroughly the land is plowed the larger is the yield. Soil exhaustion is 
remedied by manuring, rotation of crops, and fallows. The manures ordinarily used 
are crow dung, ashes, house sweepings, oil cake, the ashes of burnt jute roots, 
the stubble of rice crops. All refuse from the plant should be returned to the 
soil. Rotation of crops is practiced in almost every district where jute is exten- 
sively grown, and is well understood by the cultivators, though no universal 
rules are curent. The crops most frequently selected are mustard, rice, and pulses. 
Leaving the land fallow for two to three years is resorted to whenever found 
necessary. 

A study of the practice in India points to the choice in the United States of alluvial 
lands, such as the second bottoms, so called, along rivers or other bodies of water, 
and even lowlands that are not Hooded. The experience of those who made trials 
of the culture in the early seventies indicates that while the plants will grow on a 
great variety of soils, the best results are secured where there is plenty of moisture, 
or, when the moisture is not found in the soil, where it can be applied artificially, 
as by irrigation. In the experiments in Florida in 1872 cultivation in a bay head, 
composed of muck several feet deep, cleared off and lined, produced stalks to the 
height of 12 feet or more. On Florida cotton lands which are not uplands the plant 
did well. In Georgia, in the same year, culture upon " stiff clay lands" produced 
stalks 15 feet tall. A South Carolina farmer utilized rice lands, securing stalks 7 to 
10 feet tall. In Louisiana several experiments were conducted the same year upon 
river lands 1 foot and 3 feet above Gulf tide. Notwithstanding that the season was 
very dry, stalks 10 to 13 feet tall were produced, and the experiment was considered 
in every way a success. In North Carolina moist bottom lands were chosen with 
good results. 

The following, from Felix Fremerey, gives a practice that has produced good 
results near Galveston, Tex. : 

" In February the soil is plowed to a depth of 7 inches and exposed to the intluences 
of sun and air. By the middle of April, when the soil has gotten fairly warm, and 
by no means before, it is harrowed twice in order to thoroughly pulverize it. Fur- 
rows at a distance of 8 inches are drawn by means of a drill; they should be about 
2h to 3 inches deep, and cotton-seed meal at the rate of a quarter to half a ton per 
acre is thrown in them. The seeds are dropped in these furrows at the rate of 15 to 
1G pounds per acre and then covered with earth in any convenient manner. xVt this 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 131 

time of the year the soil contains much moisture, which, combined with the atmos- 
pheric warmth, brings the seeds to germination in a few days ; the young plants will 
appear about the fourth or fifth day after sowing, when they will rapidly advance 
in growing, requiring no care whatever. As long as there is sufficient moisture in 
the soil the plant should be let alone, but as soon as the ground begins to be dry 
irrigation should be resorted to. In order to insure a most regular and effective 
soaking of the soil, I would advise to draw furrows in both directions about 4 
inches wide, and as deep, at regular distances of 10 or 12 feet. If the soil is natu- 
rally rich no fertilizing in connection with irrigation is required; in the case, how- 
ever, of the soil being poor, or humus being insufficiently represented in it, addi- 
tional fertilizing should be given, and for this purpose I would advise to put in 
cotton-seed meal, mixed with water a few days before its use; the meal will rot and 
the irrigation water will carry it where it will become available for the young plants. 
A jute plantation must be kept moist, avoiding an excess of irrigation in order to 
keep the ground as far as possible in a temperate warmth. If the plant has attained 
the age of four weeks its rank growth will prevent the sunbeams from penetrating 
to the soil, so it will for a long time preserve the needed moisture and consequently 
keep the soil soft and mellow, allowing the roots to absorb the needed chemical con- 
stituents, and permitting organic and mineral plant food to decompose so as to render 
them lit to be drunk by the plants. In case of broadcast sowing, 22 to 25 pounds of 
seed should be used, waiting if possible until after a rain ; or if natural precipitation 
is lacking, after a soaking of the soil by irrigation. The manure in this case should 
be spread as uniformly as possible before harrowing, and after sowing the soil 
should be smoothed by a common field roller in order to press the seeds in the 
ground, granting them in this way every chance of germination." 

The quantity of seed sown per acre varies greatly in the different districts of Ben- 
gal, ranging from 1 seer per bega in Hooghly to 6£ seers in Burdwan. A seer is 1 
pound 13 ounces. This would give in English equivalents 5^ pounds to llf pounds 
per acre. Twelve to 15 pounds to the acre are generally accepted as the average, 
though Spon states that 22 to 28 pounds are required. The yield of seed per acre in 
India is about 4i maunds, or nearly 400 pounds. The season for putting the seed 
into the ground extends from February to June, though March and April are the 
months usually selected. As in the case of plowing, so in the period of sowing, there 
are marked differences; but the mode of sowing is with one exception alike every- 
where. The seeds are sown broadcast on a clear, sunny day, and covered with a 
thin crust of earth, either by the hand or by a "binda," or harrow, or a "moi," or 
ladder, or, as in Bhaugulpore and Julpigoree, by beams of wood drawn over the 
held by oxen. Little or no after cultivation is given, and no care further than to 
thin out the weaker plants where a field is overcrowded. Ordinarily, the space left 
between plants is 6 inches, though in some localities more space is left, sometimes 8 
to 10 inches. The plants mature in about three months, so that the harvest of a crop 
sown in March or April will come in June and July, the May and June sowings 
maturing in September and October. 

Extraction of the Fiber. — Machinery has never been used for this purpose in 
India, and the fiber is separated from the stalks by retting or steeping for a week or 
more in water. In Mr. Kerr's report it is stated that the almost universal practice 
is to ret in stagnant water, " especially such as contains a large proportion of decom- 
posing vegetation," which expedites the retting process. It is stated, further, that 
the ryots go down into the pools and, standing waist deep," thrash the water with 
handfuls of the retted stalks to facilitate the separation of the fiber. In referring 
to the India practice the author does not recommend it, as few American farm 
laborers North or South could be found who would adopt it any more than Euro- 
pean laborers will pull flax by hand after becoming residents of the United States, 
if they can avoid it. Plainly, then, successful jute culture in the United States 
can only be brought about by the use of machinery for extracting the fiber. See 
Appendix A. 



132 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



But the niacin lie alone does not prepare the fiber in marketable form. The decor- 
ticated ribbons have yet to be retted to remove the gums, wood, and other waste 
matters, and give a spinnable product. The best combined process so far available 
is to strip the stalks by machine and ret the fiber in tanks of water. Mr. Fremerey, 
who has had a large experience in this work, recommends the use of wooden vats 
filled with water and kept as near a temperature of 95° to 100° F. as possible; 
or holes may be dug in the ground, as for flax retting, measuring, say, 10 feet long 
by 4 wide and 4 feet deep. The stripped ribbons are tied loosely in bundles of about 
50 pounds, for ease in handling, and placed in the vats or pools in such a manner as 
to insure their being completely submerged until the dissolution of the gums and 
waste matters has been accomplished. In the absence of the vats or pools, the India 
practice of retting in pools or waterways must be followed, though it is not essential 
that the farmer shall follow the Indian ryot's example, by taking a warm bath in 
water fouled by decomposing vegetable matters almost to the point of purification. 

Yield, and value of the crop. — Warden, in his work on the linen trade, 1867, 
places the yield of jute fiber per acre in India at 400 to 700 pounds. George Watt 
states in the report of the revenue and agricultural department of India (1888-89) 
that an average crop of fiber is 15 maunds, though the range is from 3 to 36 maunds 
per acre — a maund is 87? pounds. He also cites the experiments performed at the 
Saidapet farm in Madras, where the yield was 599 pounds of fiber if cut close to the 
ground, and 703 pounds when pulled, but adds that is less than half of the average 
yield in Bengal. Undoubtedly the American yield, on proper soil, will be consider- 
ably higher then the yield in India and it would be perfectly safe, then, to count 
.upon crops of 3,000 pounds per acre, since this yield is exceeded in India under the 
best conditions of growth. 

Regarding the value of the crop, a perusal of the past literature of the subject 
published in this country reveals promises of large remuneration to those who will 
embark in the industry. Tables showing cost of production and profits of culture 
have appeared that, however honestly they may have been stated at the time they 
were prepared, are now misleading, for the reason that the prices of fibers of all 
kinds were never lower than at the present time (1896). 

The following table showing the values of India jute on December 31, for three 
y^ars, from monthly statements of H. H. Crocker & Co., Xew York City, January 1, 
1896, is interesting: 





Tear. 


Jute fiber. 


Butts and rejections. 




Spot. ; Shipment. 


Spot. 


Shipment. 


1893 


Cents. Cents. 
3£@4§ 3£@4£ 
2|S3| - 2 ®3| 
2f@3i 2i®3|> 


Cents. 

H 


Cents. 

1.7@2£ 

1 ,\." H 


]S94 


1895 





The Report on the Foreign Commerce- and Navigation of the United States for 
the year ending June 30, 1895, shows that the fiber was imported in the following 
quantities: 





Year. 


Jute fiber. 


Butts and rejections. 




Tons. 


Value. 


Tons. 


Value. 


] *94 


18,154 
41, 787 


$935, 537 
1, 573, 690 


31, 845 


$780 821 


1895 




68,885 | 1,181,439 



Total 



100, 730 



1, 1102. -J60 



These figures show that over 100,000 tons of the cheaper fiber (selling at an average 
of less than li cents per pound) are used in this country annually, against about 






DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 133 

GO, 000 tons of the fiber, bringing at highest market prices 3| cents a pound. It is 
extremely doubtful if the demand for cheap jute could bo met by the Southern farm- 
ers at present prices, even if the cotton crop should continue to be baled with jute 
bagging, and the new inventions for compressed bales covered with iron suggest a 
contingency worth considering. The Southern jute planter, then, could only endeavor 
to fill the demand for the higher-priced fiber at the best prices he would be able to 
realize in competition with the Indian product. That he would be able to secure the 
full price of the foreign commodity, judging from samples of American jute I have 
examined, there is littlo doubt ; and were he to grow a superior product, which he 
would be able to do with better practices in culture than are followed in India, he 
can fill a limited demand for fiber at higher prices than the Indian product, for use 
in superior grades of juto manufactures. In time, special uses in manufacture might 
be created that would be filled exclusively by American jute, but this can not be 
assured. 

* Specimens, in series, Mus. U. Dept. Ag. 

Corchorus siliquosus. 

This small shrub is a well-known tropical American species, said to be indigenous 
in the West Indies and southward. It is a herbaceous plant only 2 or 3 feet high, 
its leaves differing from those of the two commercial species " in not having bristles 
or the two bottom teeth, and there is usually a line of minute hairs along the stem." 
It is not regarded for its fiber, its only economic uses being the making of besoms by 
the negroes, while the inhabitants of Panama employ the leaves in an infusion which 
is a substitute for tea. 

Cord grass, Fresh water (see Spartina). 
Cordia cylindristachya. Black Sage. 

This genus of Borraginacex contains almost two hundred species of plants found 
in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. They are trees or shrubs ; the fruits 
of some species are eaten, and also used in pharmacy, and some of them are valued 
as timber trees. 

C. cylindristachya is a Trinidad species, said to be (i a common wayside weed, the 
fiber of which is seldom seen except in museums and at exhibitions'' (Hart). Its 
fiber is fit for coarse forms of cordage. Samples of the fiber of C. macrophylla (the 
Manjack), of C. gerascanihus (the Spanish elm), and of C. seuestena all tropical 
American species, were received from the Smithsonian Institution in 1869, without 
data. A good ^specimen of C. colococca appears in the Herb. Col. Univ. ~N. Y., 
which shows that it is unimportant economically. 

Cordia myxa. 

An Indian species (western, central, and south India). Wild in the Himalayas, 
cultivated on the plains. 

Fiber. — The bark is made into ropes, and the fiber is used for caulking boats; 
fuses are also made from it. " From the inner bark is obtained a fiber, from which 
the coiled match of the native firearms is made" (James). 

My notes on this species, in Ann. Kept. Dept. Ag., 1879, are as follows: Cordia 
angusiifolia, called by the natives of Mysore nanvuli, is used in the manufacture of 
rope. The bark is extracted in ribbon-like layers, and then twisted into cordage. 
It is possible some of the species might yield a useful fiber for textile purposes, 
though the examples in the museum are very inferior. In its lace-bark appearance 
the bast resembles Sterculia ; it is white in color, soft, and of inferior tenacity. 

* Specimens. — Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Cordia rothii. 

The C. angustifolia of Spon. A small tree of northwest and central and south India. 
The liber or inner bark yields a coarse, gray bast fiber, which is used by the natives 



134 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

for cordage. It is a small tree, 12 to 15 feet, found in Mysore, Bombay, and the 
Deccan. A liber prepared from the hark is made into ropes, used in Malabar tor 
dragging timber from the forests. It is very strong, and samples are said to have 
supported more than 600 pounds. C. latifolia affords similar fiber: used for rope, 
coarse cloth, twine, and netting. 

Cordyline australis. Foksteb's Palm Lily. 

This genus of erect-stemmed, shrubby, palm-like Liliacece are found in tropical 
Africa, in Madagascar and the Mascarene Islands, in the Malayan Archipelago and 

Australia. 

Guilfoyle enumerates nine species in his Australasian list from which he has 
extracted liber, as follows: C. australis, C. australis var. lineata, C. bdnksii, C. baueri, 
C. coolii, C. indirisa, C. stricla, C. terminalis, and C. veitcliii. 

The most common in the botanical and other gardens of Melbourne is ''Forster's 
Palm Lily" (C. australis), one of the New Zealand species. Under favorable cir- 
cumstances it grows to a height of 30 to 40 feet, and the leaves afford a large per- 
centage of excellent, strong fiber. With proper attention this plant will yield a 
good crop of leafage in its fourth or fifth year; and, as it will grow vigorously in 
land subject to partial inundation, it can be utilized in places otherwise compara- 
tively useless. It seeds freely, and can therefore be extensively propagated, so that 
a young plantation maybe always coming on to supersede the old one when the 
latter becomes unprofitable. (Guilfoyle.) Fig. 1, PI. VI, shows this species. From 
a small plant growing in the United States Botanical Garden. 

Cordyline banksii. 

C. jmmila (error for pumilio) of my report, in Ann. Rept. U. S. Dept. Ag., 1879, 
this name having been attached to the label accompanying the specimen of fiber 
obtained from the Phil. Int. Exh., 1876. Habitat: New Zealand. The fiber from this 
plant is another of Dr. Guilfoyle's preparations. The native name is Ti-rauriki. 
"The leaves of this interesting species of Cordyline grow to a great length and yield 
an abundance of fiber of long staple, suitable for ropes, mats,"' etc. It is also con- 
vertible into a good quality of paper. The fiber is from 21 to 3 feet in length, straight, 
white, and glossy, but very stiff, resembling fiber of Yucca or Agave, and seems to 
have been extracted in coarse bundles of filaments, which must be hackled 1o be 
reduced to anything like fineness. It is fully as strong as Yucca fiber, and would 
make excellent rope of great tenacity. 

< . banksii, Sir Joseph Banks's Palm Lily, attains a height of about 10 feet, and 
throws out leaves of 3 or 4 feet in length. The fiber is long in staple and of great 
strength. Like the first-named species, the seeds are produced in great abundance, 
and, especially on irrigated land, it will grow rapidly in this colony, as under these 
conditions two or even three strippings of the outer leaves might be made in a year. 
(Guilfoyle.) 

* Specimens. — Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Cordyline indivisa. The Tall Pal3I Lily. 

Fiber and tow of this species were also received from the Victorian collection, Phil. 
Int. Exh., 1876, prepared by Dr. Guilfoyle. They are not as fine as the preceding, 
however, though possessing considerable strength. A very rudely manufactured 
rope from the last-named species accompanies the collection. This liber, however, 
is darker colored, and possesses little of the beauty of the preceding example, which 
has been carefully prepared. Neither Royle nor Vetillart makes mention of this fiber, 
though it is named in Bernardin's Catalogue. 

The leaves attain a length off feet, and a breadth off to 5 inches, and contain an 
abundance of fiber, which diverges from the center to the edge and top of the leaf. 
It is therefore shorter than the leaf and not of the same strength throughout ; but 
it is prepared with greater car.- than the New Zealand llax | Phormium tenax), and 






DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 135 

is better for cordage purposes, as it does not contract in water. The natives use it 
in the manufacture of rough mats, employed as a cape to keep off the rain, it being 
more durable than Phormium fiber. Though the fiber is coarse, it seems well adapted 
for ropes and paper making. (Spon.) 

C. terminalis is a Hawaiian and Asiatic species (see Dracama), and C. refiexa, and C. 
fragrans are African species. 0. nutans is found in China, India, and South Sea 
Islands. Bernardm records C. lieliconia from Jamaica. According to the Official 
Guide Kew Mus., garments have been made from species of Cordyline in New Zea- 
land and colored with native dyes. 

* Specimens.— C. indivisa, Mus. T T . S. Dept. Ag. 

Cork-wood Tree. Ochroma lagopus. 
Corn. (Maize.) 

Various fibers from leaves and husks of corn, and cellulose from cornstalks. See 
Zea mays. 

Coronilla emerus. 

Exogen. Leguminosce. A bush, 5 feet. 

A Mediterranean plant sometimes cultivated in gardens of southern Europe and 
commonly known as the Scorpion senna. The leaves yield a dye and have medicinal 
properties. 

Bast Fiber. — Savorgnan mentions this species as one of the plants that has been 
given the name Ginestra, which is applied to several distinct species of plants yield- 
ing fiber and particularly to Spartium. It is the Ginestra di oosco, and is of little 
value as a textile. 

Corosal (Gent. Am.). See note from Squier under Acrocomia. 
Corozo (see Cocos crispa). 

May be the same as Corojo (Cuba). See Acrocomia lasiospatha. In Venezuela 
Corozo is Elceis melanococca. u Corozo is a collective name for several species of palms 
with fruits having a hard kernel" {Dr. Ernst). 

Cortega (Panama). See Apeiba. 

Corteza (Sp.)=bark. 

Corylus californica. Hazelnut Trees. 

The hazels are too well known to need description here. They are small trees or 
large shrubs. "The usual form of the hazel, in its wild state, is a straggling bush 
consisting of a number of long, flexible stems from the same root" (Treas. Botany). 

Woody Fiber. — "The young flexible twiga of the California hazelnut (C. ros- 
trata var. californica) are almost in as great demand by the Indians of California 
and Oregon as the branches of Salix sessilifolia; these two plants making up most of the 
warp of their basket work. Hazelnut twigs are also much used in binding fish dams" 
(Dr. V. Harard). 

Corypha gebanga. Gebang Palm. 

Endogen. Palma?. 
A Javanese species of palm, from the trunk of which a kind of sago is obtained. 
The Kew Mus. exhibits a kadu, or sleeping mat, made from the leaves on the island of 
Ceram ; also a hat made from the leaves in Java, and strips of the unexpanded leaves 
used in Borneo for sewing. The leaves are also plaited into baskets. 

Corypha umbraculifera. Talipot Palm. 

Native of Ceylon and Malabar coast. Straight cylindrical trunk, marked by rings 
and surmounted by a crown of gigantic fan-like leaves; height, 60 to 70 feet. See 
fig. 1, PI. IX. 



136 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Structural Fiber. — The leaves are made into fans. mats, and umbrellas, and are 
used for writing on. They are also largely employed for thatching. Roxburgh 
remarks that the leaves "are used to tie the rafters" of native houses, as they are 
"said to be strong and durable.'' It seems probable that after removing the edible 
pulp from the interior of the stem the long fibrovascular cords might bo used as a 
substitute for kittul, similar to the fibers extracted from the stem of Caryota ureas. 
These fibers are reported to be softer and more pliable than those found at the bases 
of the leaves. (Wait.) 

Specimens of the fiber obtained from the Ceylon exhibit, W. C. E., 1893. Princi- 
pally used as a thatch or covering for tea houses. In the Official Handbook of 
Ceylon (W. C. E., 1893) it is stated that this palm is never now found in the forests, 
as it is a cultivated species. "'This last palm is one of the glories of our flora, reach- 
ing, when fully grown and in flower, to 100 feet in height, of which some 20 feet are 
occupied by the great pyramidal flower head. It belongs to that group of palms 
which flower but once; in this case after about forty-five to fifty years' growth, and 
die after ripening the seed." 

Spon mentions C. australis as the Australian cabbage palm, but this is the same 
as Livistona. The leaves, which are of great size, yield a fiber by simply splitting 
them longitudinally. This is employed in "the manufacture of hats, baskets, net- 
ting, clothing, etc." 

* Specimens. — U. S. Nat. Mus.; Mus. U.S. Dept. Ag. 

Cos (Oeyl.). See Artocarpus. See also Cos, p. 12. 
Coscinium fenestratum. Weni-wel op Ceylon. 

Exogen. Menispermacea\ Climber. 
This strong, woody, scandent species is found in great abundance in the moist 
districts of Ceylon between sea level and 3,500 feet altitude. In the Die. Ec. Prod. 
Ind. there is mention of the plant as yielding a yellow dye and medicine, but of no 
other economic use. In the Handbook of* Ceylon (W. C. E., 1893) it is stated that 
the freshly cut stems or vines are made into a strong rope by twisting, and largely 
used by the natives for tying cattle. The species is included in Bernardin's list. 

Costus afer. 

Credited to Africa. Many of the species of Costus are ornamental greenhouse 
plants. Fiber, 3 feet 6 inches in length. Mentioned in lists of Bernardin and the 
Flax and Hemp Commission of 1863. 

Cotton. Species, cultivation, etc. See Gossypium. 
Cotton grass. EHophorum latifolium. 
Cotton, Silk, or Vegetable silk. Species of. 

This substance is produced in the seed pods of many species of plants in different 
parts of the world. They are variously named and in past time much confusion 
has existed in regard to their nomenclature. As they are treated in this catalogue 
under their botanical names, the following list of principal species should be referred 
to for detailed description: 

Aschpias syriaca and incarnata, milk weed, silk weed, etc. Temperate North 
America. 

Asdepias curassavica. I'latanillo, Venezuela and India. 

Bombax ceiba. Tropical America. 

Bonibax cumanensis. Lana del tambor. Venezuela. 

Bombax malabaricum. India and Burma. 

Bombax munguba. South America. 

Bombax pubescen 8. South America. 

Bombax villosum. Mexico. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 137 

Calotropis gigantea. Tropical Africa, Persia, India, and Ceylon. 

Chorlsia insignia and speciosa. Argentina and Brazil. 

Cnchlospermum gossypium. India. 

f'Jriodendron anfractuosum. The commercial kapok. AVest Indies, South America, 
tropical Africa, Java, India, and Ceylon. 

Eriodendron samauma. Brazil. 

Epilobium angustifolium. Temperate North America. 

Ochroma lagopus. Balso. South America. 

See Cibotium menziesii, Puln of the Hawaiian Islands. This is not a "silk cotton/' 
but it resembles this substance and is employed for the same uses. See also Typha. 

Cotton-stalk fiber. See Bast Fiber, under Gossypium. 

Cottonwood. Populus deltoides. 

Country mallow (see Abutilon indlcum). 

Couratari spp. 

The genus Couratari, belonging to the Myrtacece, embraces a dozen species or more 
of South American trees, the superb examples occurring in Brazil, along the Amazon 
and its tributaries, and in countries to the northward, Peru and Guiana especially. 
The flowers are large and white, mixed with purple in color, arranged in axillary 
spikes. The fruit is a woody capsule, oblong in form, covered by an operculum 
which extends in a central axis to the base of the capsule, where the seeds are 
inserted. The species of the genus Couratari and of Lecythis are very nearly related, 
differing especially in their fruit, which in the latter is hard and bulky, serving the 
natives for cups and vases. A traveler in Guiana states that one of the species of 
that region blossoms about the time that its leaves fall, and that it is covered with 
thousands of rose-colored blossoms like the peach tree. The timber of these trees 
is prized for many uses, and the bark of several species has long been known to the 
South American Indians as yielding a valuable fiber. 

The trees of this genus are particularly interesting as yielding a bark fiber known 
as Corieza del Damajuhato, from which the natives produce a kind of cloth for the 
rough clothing of the country. While authorities do not agree upon any one partic- 
ular species supplying this fiber, at least three are mentioned, and it is probable that 
all are employed to a greater or less extent economically. Prof. James Orton, in The 
Andes and the Amazon, states that "the natives make a bark cloth from the Tururi 
or Curatari legalis, called Cascaria up the Madeira, and from the Llanchama on the 
Maranon (Napo and Huallaga). The latter tree is 20 inches in diameter and has a 
white bark. From the Tururi garments 4 yards long are made of a single piece, 
resembling a coarse woolen stuff, with two layers of wavy fiber. In the manuscript 
notes received from A. Dorca of Lima, Peru, the species is stated to be u Couratari 
guianensis, Llanchama, Damajuhato, Tatuiari ; Indians make cloth from the bark." 
In a recent work on this subject " Corteza del Damajuhato," by Dr. Alberto L. 
Gadea, Lima, 1894, the above species are mentioned, together with C. tauari, C. eslrel- 
lenais, and C. domestica, all fiber producing. The common names given by this 
author to the Couratari bark cloth will be found under C. tauari below, where, also, 
the descriptions of the fiber of Damajuhato, as well as that from allied species of 
Couratari is described. 

Couratari tauari. The Tatjary of Brazil. 

Exogen. Myrtacece. A forest tree. 
Native names. — See descriptive matter below. 
C. tauari grows to a height of 50 or 60 feet. Its wood and fiber were shown in 
the Brazilian exhibit, W. C. E., 1893, from the River Amazon, though examples were 
not secured by me. 

Bast Fiber. — The interior bark is extracted in thin layers, appearing somewhat 



138 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

like paper, and in this form has been used for wrapping cigarettes aud cigars. It is 
also used for cordage, for rougli clothing, and bedding by the natives of many South 
American countries. In the recently published pamphlet by Dr. Gadea on the sub- 
ject of the employment by natives of South America of '■ Damajuhato " fiber from 
species of Couratari. the following account is given of the manner in which the bast 
is secured. 

By means of a knife or other sharp instrument they make two cuts in the bark of 
the tree at different heights, surrounding the entire tree, and then another cut longi- 
tudinal to the first. They then tear or strip off these sections of the bark, pound 
it and wash it to separate the parenchyma from the fiber, thus obtaining a textile 
substance of the quality we have described in this report. In other cases they 
loosen the bark by continued blows or beating. At the present time in the forest 
region many tribes use garments of bark. Some of the blankets appear as if made 
from soft pliable leather, others look like cotton. We see. therefore, that the sav- 
ages use the LI anchama, Damajuhato, Tahuari, etc., for bed blankets, for garments, 
for cordage, and the more civilized use it for carpets, mats, and to take the place of 
paper in wrapping cigarettes. 

According to this authority the fiber is known among the natives of Peru as Dama- 
juhato in Gaen, Llanchama in Maranon and Loreto, and Tahuari in Loreto. In Bo- 
livia and portions of Peru, the fiber is called Cdscara above the Madeira, and Bihoci 
in Beni, Mamore, Abuna, and Madre de Dios. In Brazil, Tauari on the Amazon, and 
Jequitiba in Matto Grosso, and Irabirussu in Bahia. In Colombia it is Talaja. and 
in French Guiana it bears the name Ingipipa, Coin-atari, and Oulemari, the latter 
name being used by the Galibis Indians. In Venezuela it is Courimari. In the geog- 
raphy of Peru a species of Couratari found in the Province of Jaen is mentioned, 
which is called Damajuhato. "the bark of which is a ductile fiber that serves for 
making cloth or blankets/' One of these blankets is described as being two yards 
long and three yards wide. Professor Eaimondi, in his work on Pern, describing 
the people of the Iquitos, mentions the Llanchama, "a species of cloth made from 
the bark of a tree, which serves them for beds and many other uses." 

The women of the tribe of the Churruyes, of Colombia, use the bark of the Tataja 
in the fashioning of a sort of garment called furquina, which is secured to the 
shoulders by strands of palm fiber, probably an Astrocaryum. "The fiber is sepa- 
rated by blows and jerks into sheets, resembling cloth, which, when rubbed, washed, 
and exposed to the sun and clew, becomes light in color and flexible.*' The garment 
is sometimes dyed red. Some of the Indians of Peru and Bolivia make shirts of the 
fiber {Bihoci); these being dyed in red and other colors. In many other works of 
travel, relating to the regions where species of Couratari are found, references to 
the fiber are frequently made under one or another of the native names already 
recorded. 

C. guianensis is also called Tauari in Guiana, and produces a textile fiber used for 
many purposes. C. estrellensis furnishes a wood used in naval construction ''and 
produces a coarse hemp." C. legalis, also prized for its timber, yields a fiber. This 
tree is known in Brazil as jequitiba. 

Courimari (see Couratari). 

Cowania mexicana. 

Exogen. Rosacea?. A small shrub. 

The plants of the genus are found in Mexico and Peru, and the species named also 
occurs in southwestern United States. It is an interesting shrub about 2 feet high 
when mature, with alternate small narrow leaves, the edges turned down ; covered 
with glands on the upper surface, and on the lower, white with fine down. The 
flowers are numerous and of a yellow color. 

Bast Fiber. — This tree, before the advent of Europeans, was the great source from 
which the Nevada and Utah Indians obtained the materials for their dress goods. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 139 

The outer bark is rough, but the inner is soft, silky, and pliable, and of a brownish 
color. It is removed in long strips, varying in width, a desirable quality in a bark 
that is used in the manufacture of clothing, sandals, and ropes. These articles were 
formerly made by braiding strips of bark together, or woven with the hand loom. 
Females made skirts from strips of this bark by braiding a belt, to which they sus- 
pended many strips of the same material, hanging down to the knees like a long 
fringe ; the rest of the person was naked in summer. Mats were also made from this 
bark, which were used as beds. (Dr. E. Palmer.) 

* Specimens of fiber, Bot. Mus. Harv. Univ. Little better than cypress bast. 

Cow Pea (U. S.). See Yigna catjang. 

Coyal (S. Am.). See Cocos crispa. 

Crin vegetal (Alg.). See Chamcerops humiiis. 

Crotalaria juncea. The Sunn Hemp of India. 

Exogen. Leguminosce. A tall shrub. 

Native names. — Chin-pat and Chumese (Ind.) ; Sanskrit name, Sana. 

The fiber is known as Sunn, Taag, or Conkanee hemp, Indian hemp, Brown hemp, 
and Madras hemp. 

Abounds in southern Asia and tropical Australasia. In the Northwest Provinces of 
India it has been cultivated to the extent of 50,000 acres annually. See lig. 2, PL V. 

Bast Fiber. — Takes the place of jute in portions of India; a better fiber than jute, 
lighter in color, with a tensile strength that adapts it to cordage manufacture. 
According to experiments by Roxburgh a dry line of jute broke with a weight of 143 
pounds, and when wet, with 146: a similar sunn line sustained 160 and 209 pounds. 
Royle has shown that a cord 8 inches in size of best Petersburg hemp broke with 14 
tons 8 hundredweight and 1 quarter, while a similar rope of sunn only gave way 
with 15 tons 7 hundredweight and 1 quarter. He further demonstrated the slight 
deterioration of sunn hemp as follow s : A rope made in 1803 broke with a weight of 
6 tons hundredweight 3 quarters, whereas, when kept till 1806, it gave way with 5 
tons 17 hundredweight. 

In Dr. Wight's experiments with sunn, cotton rope, hemp, and coir, they were 
found to stand a strain of 407, 346, 290, and 224 pounds, respectively. The fiber is 
used principally for ropes and cables, though in India it is manufactured into cord- 
age, nets, sackcloth, twine, and paper. The finely dressed and most carefully pre- 
pared fiber is made into canvas of great durability. 

Sunn hemp is " probably one of the earliest of the distinctly named fibers, as we 
find, in the Hindoo ' Institutes of Menu/ that the sacrificial thread of the Cshatriya, 
or Rajpoot, is directed to be made of sana." The plant producing this fiber is a 
shrub growing from 8 to 12 feet high, with branching stem marked with longi- 
tudinal furrows. When cultivated it is sown quite close, at the beginning of the 
rainy season, in order that the plants may grow tall and thickly together — the 
natives say the thicker the better, so as to prevent the air passing through it — 80 to 
100 pounds of seed being used to the acre, and some even sow a larger quantity. In 
some portions of India two kinds are cultivated, one sown in May and June, when 
the first showers fall, and the other in October, though in quality they are the 
same. " That sown in June is cut in August and September, and the other about 
April." 

Early in 1893 this Department imported a small quantity of the seed for test in 
the South. The seed was distributed to 15 localities. While the plant grew well, 
the stalks seemed deficient in fiber save in extreme southern Florida, a fine sample 
having been sent from Fort Lauderdale. The experiment is worthy of a second trial 
in this country, particularly in southern Florida. 

Cultivation. — In the Dictionary of the Economic Products of India there is a 



140 



USEFUL FIBER FT, ANTS OF THE WORLD. 



full account of tlic treatment of the plant in cultivation., from which extracts are 
reproduced : 

In Kolaba it is sown in November, after the rice is harvested, and the stalks are 
uprooted in March. In Kolhapur it is sown in August and harvested in December, 
by being cut when the plants are full grown. In Foona it is sown in July and ripens 
in October. In the central provinces and the northwestern provinces it is a kharif 
crop, being sown with the advent of the rains, but in Bengal it is sown a little earlier, 
namely, from 15th of April to 15th of Juue. In Madras the sowings take place still 
earlier. In the experiments performed at the Saidapet farm. Madras, sunn was sown 
on the 2d of February. In the Ain-i-Akbari the plant is described as bearing its 
yellow flowers in spring, a fact at which Mr. Kerr (writing of Bengal) expresses some 

astonishment, since "it now flowers in 
the rainy and cold seasons." Roxburgh 
says it is sown in Bengal in May and 
June and flowers by August — that is to 
say, toward the end of the rainy sea- 
son. In the last agricultural report of 
Bengal it is stated that the crop is har- 
vested from 15th of August to 15th of 
September. 

It requires a light, but not necessarily 
rich, soil, and it can not be grown on 
clay. It is therefore sown on the high 
sandy lands, less suited for the more 
important crops. Wisset remarks that 
clay soils are injurious, but that on a 
rich soil the fiber is of a coarser quality 
than that grown on dry, high situations. 
The opinion prevails all over India 
that high cultivation is not necessary 
for sunn hemp. Of Kolaba it is said: 
'•The soil is roughly plowed twice and 
the seed sown broadcast." In Bengal 
••'the seeds are sown broadcast. It is 
necessary to have the plants grown 
thick, otherwise they become bushy and 
coarse and give very inferior fibers." 
"There is nothing more required after 
sowing till harvest time." In the North- 
west Provinces " two plowings at most 
are given, and the seed is sown broad- 
cast and plowed in. It germinates 
quicker than any other crop, the seed- 
lings showing above ground within 
twenty-four hours alter being sown. Irrigation, even when necessary, is rarely 
given, and no weeding is required." In the experiments made in Madras, to which 
reference has already been made, it was apparently sown in drills. ''The land was 
prepared for an ordinary crop by plowing aud harrowing until it was reduced to 
a proper state, and the seed was then sown with the drill in rows 9 inches apart 
at the rate of 12 pounds per acre," but in the Northwestern Provinces about 1 
maund (or 80 pounds) to the acre in general. In Bengal 20 seers (40 pounds) to 
the bigha (three-fourths of an acre) is the customary amount of seed. Roxburgh 
states that from 80 to 100 pounds weight to the acre were used in his time. The 
plant should not be more than 21 to 3 inches apart each way. and hence thick sowing 
is desirable. 

Inmost cases the plants are pulled up by the roots; in others the stems are cut 




l"i<.. 4'i. — Leaf and Llossom of Cr talaria juncea. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 141 

with a sickle close to the ground. Of the Poona district, Bombay, it is stated that the 
crop is "left standing for about a month after it is ripe, that the leaves, which are 
excellent manure, may fall on the land." It is not clear whether the crop is left on 
its roots— that is to s.iy, not reaped — or whether it is cut and stacked on the fields; 
tho latter more probably. The greatest difference of opinion prevails as to whether the 
cut crop should be dried before being steeped, or, like jnte, be carried at once to 
the retting tanks. But even with jute some cultivators dry the plants sufficiently 
to allow of the leaves being rapidly stripped, since these are supposed to injure the 
color of the fiber if allowed to rot in the water of the tank. With regard to sunn 
hemp, the general rule may be almost safely laid down that in moist regions, like 
Bengal, rapid submersion is preferred, and in dry regions, like Madras, stacking the 
crop is practiced. Roxburgh, from actual experiments, arrived at the opinion that 
"steeping immediately after the plant is pulled is the best, at least in Bengal dur- 
ing the rains, for then it is very difficult to dry it, and the fiber becomes weakened 
and the color injured.'' 

The average yield of fiber is about 640 pounds per acre. In preparing the fiber in 
the Lucknow district the stalk is cut near the root when the plant begins to flower, 
"tied in large bundles, and immersed in Avater, the natives putting small weights 
upon it (generally mud) to prevent it being carried away. After remaining in water 
from four to eight days it is withdrawn, taken by handfuls, beaten on a piece of 
wood or stone, and washed till quite clean, and the cuticle and leaves entirely 
removed." The woody portion is separated by further beating and shaking when 
perfectly dry. At Commercolly the plants are pulled, tied in bundles, and are then 
left standing in water, on their roots, to the depth of several inches. This allows the 
fiber to obtain the right degree of firmness without becoming parched and dried by 
the sun. O versteeping causes the bark to separate very easily, but weakens the fiber. 
Dr. Roxburgh found "no advantage, but the reverse, by drying the plant after macer- 
ation and before the bark is removed," 7 which is the mode practiced in regard to flax 
and hemp. After the fiber has been separated it is thoroughly washed by repeatedly 
squeezing and wringing the water out of it, after which it is hung upon lines. When 
dry the fiber is separated a little, or combed with the fingers, and then bundled for 
market. 

In another account it is stated that small pools of clear water, well exposed to the 
sun's beams, seem best suited for the steeping, because heat hastens maceration and 
consequently preserves the strength of the fibers, while clean water preserves their 
color. 

Having discovered that the necessary degree of retting has been attained, the cul- 
tivator, standing in the water up to his knees, takes a bundle of the stems in his 
hand and threshes the water with them until the tissue gives way and the long, 
clean fibers separate from the central canes. According to some writers, the retted 
stems, after being partially washed, are taken out of the water and placed in the 
sun to dry for some hours before being beaten out in the way described. This prac- 
tice, while it is followed in some parts of the country, is condemned in others as 
injurious, or at least as a useless delay. 

The drying is usually accomplished by hanging the fiber over bamboos to be dried 
and bleached by the sun. Naturally, in this country, such primitive processes as are 
described above would never be resorted to. They are interesting, however, and 
some valuable points may be gained from the experience. 

When the plant first began to attract attention among Europeans it was believed 
the Hindo method of treatment could be improved upon with favorable results, but 
much opposition was raised by the natives, who declined strenuously going out of the 
beaten track of their fathers. It was found to be a much more delicate plant than 
hemp, and consequently could not bo prepared after the European methods without 
a modification of the processes. 

Other species. — The Jubbulpore hemp (Crotalaria tenuifolia) has been consid- 
ered by some authors to be a variety of C.juncea, and is said to be superior to Russian 



142 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Hemp (Cannabis satvea . breaking approximately at a strain of 95 pounds for the first 
named to 80 pounds for the latter. It i> 4 to 5 feet in length, and resembles best 
Petersburg hemp, compared -with -which Royle considers it eqnal, if not superior. 
Although its cultivation is limited, it is regularly grown for its fiber, which is used 
for the same purpose as sunn. The liber of C. r< tusa is sold in India as a form of sunn 
hemp, i . - another species which yields liber, while C. striata is grown for 

liber "by the Santals in Chutia Nagpur." 

Croton gossypiifolius. Bois Sa^i;. 

A species of Euphorbiaceai found in Trinidad. The plants of this genus are chiefly 

valuable in pharmacy, but J. H. Hart states that the above Bpecies yickl> a coarse 
fiber. 

Crowia Br. Guian. . Ananas sativa. 

E. F. im Thurn states, in his work Among the Indians of Guiana, that Crowia is 
derived from a Bromelia. Sometimes written Krowa. See note under Ananas. 

Cryptostegia grandiflora. 

Exogen. Asclepiadacen . Climbing shrub. 

Two species of the genus are recorded, from India and Madagascar. The plants 
of this genus abound in milky juice, which, when exposed for a short time to the sun. 
is converted iuto pure caoutchouc. 

Bast Fiber. — The only mention of the plants a> producing fiber is a note i'i Spon 
to the effect that C. grandiflora yields a fine, strong liber, resembling flax, which may 
be spun into the finest yarn. 

Cuba bast see Hibiscus elatus). 

Ciibi Hopi Indian). Rhm trilobata. 

Cuchilixiu Yuc.). Asclepias eurassavica. 

Culcitium canescens. 

An interesting species belonging to the Composite, the generic name having been 
derived from Culcita, a cushion. The plants of the genus are woolly herbs or small 
bushes found in the Andes of Peru and Colombia, near the snow limit. Peruvian 
name, Huira-huira. 

Surface Fiber. — The Treasury of Botany states that all parts of the plants of 
this genus, except the upper surface of the leaves of a few. are covered with dense 
white or rusty colored woolly hairs, which serve as beds for those travelers who may 
be forced to spend the ni^ht in the open air at this great elevation. The manner of 
making the bed is. by first amassing a quantity of the plants, and, after taking the 
soft woolly pappus from the flowers, laying the branches, with the leaves attached, 
on the ground. On this first layer the soft warm pappus hairs are scattered, then a 
third layer is placed of leaves only, and. lastly, another layer of pappus hairs. On 
this couch the traveler reposes after the toils of the day without fear of frozen limbs. 
Dorca states that the fiber of C. canescens is used in Peru for torches. The genus 
Espeletia (which see also belongs to this family and. growing on the high Andes, 
bears much resemblance to this in the woolly clothing of the leaves and stems, but 
the present is easily distinguished from it, the florets being all tubular, while in 
Espeletia there is an outer row of strap-shaped llorets in the flower head. 

Cumare (Venez.). See Astrocaryum tucuma. 

Curculigo latifolia. 

The Bpecies of this genus of imaryllidacea are found in South Africa, New Holland, 
and India. Th< oamed is found in Borneo, where its "leaves are soaked in 

watei and beaten, which Loosens the liber, which is afterwards prepared and woven 
into a very close cloth, known as Lamba" I Off. Guide Kew Mus.). 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 143 

Curcuma longa. 

Belongs to the Zingiber aceos. The source of turmeric, which enters into the com- 
position of curry powder. Savorgnan states that a fiber is extracted from th<> mid- 
rib of the leaf. 

Curratow (Braz.). Ananas brae feat us. 

Currijong, or Kurrijong (Austr.). See Sterculia. Brown Kurrijong 
(see Commersonia echinata). 

Curua palm (Braz.). See AUalea spectabilis. 
Curujujul (Venez.). Karatas plumieri. 
Cus-cus (Ind.). See Andropogon squarrosus. 
Custard apple (W. Ind.). See Anona. 
Cutthalay-nar, of Eoyle (Ind.). See Agave amerhcana. 
Cutting grass (Vict.). See Gahnia radula. 
Cycas rumphii. 

Exogen. Cycadacex. Small trees. 

The species of this genus are natives of Asia, Australia, and Polynesia. They are 
popularly but erroneously called sago palms; they furnish a kind of sago, but it is 
not known commercially. The plants aro said to be intermediate between palms and 
ferns. C. rumphii is found in India and C. rcvoluta in Japan. 

Surface Fiber. — This is somewhat similar to pulu, being in the form of soft down 
from the foliage. The entire leaves also serve as thatch material (structural fiber), 
while from the leaf stems, according to Savorgnan, a fiber is obtained. 

Cynosurus cristatus. Crested Dog's Tail Grass. 

From this common British species mats and baskets are sometimes made by the 
peasantry in county Wexford, Ireland. 

Cyperus corymbosus. 

Endogen. Cyperacea\ Eeed-like grass or sedge. 

A genus of plants belonging to the sedge family, being widely distributed over 
the warmer parts of the earth. When used for textile purposes they are chiefly 
woven into mats and tho like, or pulped into paper. C. corymbosus is found in India 
and Ceylon — more commonly in wet places. 

Structural Fiber. — This is "the C. pangorie, referred to by many writers as one of 
the chief sources of the Hddur, or so-called Calcutta grass mats. Dr. Bidie writes that 
several species of sedge appear to be used for mat making, but the one from which 
the finest sorts of mats are manufactured at Tinnevelly and Palghiit is C. pangorie. 
Tinnevelly mats of the first quality are generally uncolored or with one or two 
simple bands of red and black at each end, and they may be made so fine that a 
mat sufficient for a man to lie on can be rolled up and packed into the interior of a 
moderate-sized walking stick. The strips of the split sedge used in the Palghat 
matting are not so fine as those employed in Tinnevelly, and the article is therefore 
heavier, coarser in texture, and not so flexible. " ( Watt.) 

C. esculentus, exalt atm, and iria are also used in India for mat making, and sleeping 
mats are made in Madagascar from the flattened culms of C. alter nifolius. 

Cyperus laevigatas. 

This species abounds, in or near brackish water, in the Hawaiian Islands. "A 
common plant in many tropical countries of the New and Old World, extending also 



144 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

to the Cape of Good Hope and the Mediterranean r«gion. Hawaiian name, Ehuawa. 
The fine and highly prized Niihau mats are made of this plant." (Jlillebrand.) 

C. Tonga and C. elegans (W. Ind.) are named in the Flax and Hemp Commission 
Report of 1863. 

Cyperus lucidus. Shining Galingale Rush. 

Included in Dr. Guilfoyle's Australian list as a paper stock. 

Cyperus papyrus. The Papyrus of the ancients. 

Syn. Papyrus antiquornm, which was doubtless one of the bulrushes mentioned 
in Scripture. 

Grows on the marshy hanks of rivers in Abyssinia, Sicily, and Palestine. It for- 
merly abounded on the Nile, but is now almost extinct in Egypt (Spon). Various 
portions of the plant were used in Egypt in the construction of boats, mats, baskets, 
and even rough woven fabrics. Its chief use, however, was in the preparation of 
writing paper, which was made from the inner bark of the stem. 

The liher or hark is composed of thin laminae or plates, and these unrolled and 
placed together formed a sheet. The plates obtained near the center were the best, 
and each cut diminished in value in proportion as it was distant from that part of 
the stem. AVhen carefully peeled from the plant and dressed at the sides, that these 
might join evenly, these plates were laid close together on a hard, flat table, and 
then other pieces similarly cut were laid across them at right angles. They thus 
formed a sheet of many pieces, and, to promote their adhesion, the whole was mois- 
tened with the water of the Nile, and. while wet, pressure was applied. The gluti- 
nous matter inherent in the bark promoted adhesion. They were afterwards dried 
in the sun. Bruce, the traveler, who frequently made the paper in tlie manner thus 
described, ascertained that the saccharine juice contained in the plant and dissolved 
and diffused in the water causes the immediate adhesion of the parts. In some 
cases, where the plants themselves did not contain sufficient juice, or when the 
water did not dissolve the juice properly, the strips of bark were joined together 
with paste made of fine flour mixed with hot water and a little vinegar. After 
being dried and again pressed the paper was smoothed and flattened by beating it 
with a wooden mallet. The ancient Egyptians made their sheets of prodigious 
length, though narrow. One of those purchased by the Earl of Belmore, and 
unrolled by his lordship, was 14 feet long by 1 foot broad. Belzoni had a papyrus 
23 feet long by 1^ feet broad. The quantity of the papyrus used by the Egyptians 
in their funeral operations alone must have been very great. Those papyri now 
found in the ancient tombs and about the mummy caves in Egypt are yet in a 
wonderful state of preservation. The rolls are always compressed. Sometimes their 
exterior is ornamented with gilding, in which case they are looked upon as of supe- 
rior valne. They are generally thrust into the breast or between the knees of the 
mummy, and occasionally they are inclosed in small wooden boxes or purses. In 
the museum of Naples there are not less than 1,700 to 1,800 manuscript papyri which 
have been dug from the ruins of llerculaneum, and yet only a very small portion of 
this ancient city has been dug out of the mass of lava by which it was overwhelmed. 
(Bhind.) See Ancient Fibers, in the Introduction. 

C. syriaens is mentioned by Bernardin as the papyrus of Sicily. 

Cyperus tegetiformis. Seaside Grass. Chinese Mat Bush. 

Examples of cutis and shoes made from this rush in China are shown in the 
U. S. Nat. Mus. Plain and colored mattings from the culms of this species are shown 
in the Kew Mus. made at Ningpo, and " very largely used at the present time for 
floor coverings in this country" (Groat Britain). A set of tools as used by the 
the native mat makers is also exhibited, together with samples of hats made from 
the same material. These were formerly imported into Great Britain and Europe in 
enormous quantities and sold for a few pence each. The same material is used in 
Korea for mat making:. 






DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 145 

Cyperus tegetum. Calcutta Mat Rush. 

Common in portions of India ; said to be found in Egypt and Abyssinia. 

Fiber. — The Calcutta mats are chiefly made of this species. The culms are split 
into two or three and then woven into mats upon a warp of threads previously 
stretched across the floor of a room. The mat maker passes the culms with the baud 
alternately over and under the successive threads of the warp and jiresses them 
home. In ditfereut districts of India it is believed that two or three allied species 
are used for this purpose. (Watt.) According to Hooker's Flo. Brit. India, culti- 
vated in Mauritius. 

Cyperus textilis. 

According to Spon this species is widely dispersed over the Australian Continent, 
not including Tasmania and New Zealand. The C. textilis of Von Mueller referred to 
by Spon is C. vaginatus, which see below. The true C. textilis belongs to South 
Africa. 

Cyperus unitans. Mat Rush of Japan. 

This is the Shichito-i of Japan, from which the cheaper, rougher quality of mats 
are made for the common people, in the manner that Bingo-i or Juncus effusus is 
employed for the mats used by the higher classes. The mats exported to foreign 
countries from Japan are also made of these two species, and have been exported in 
a single year to the value of 650,000 yen, or over $400,000. The Shichito-i mats are 
chiefly produced in the Oita prefecture. Beautiful examples of both forms of these 
mats, with the raw material, were secured from the Japanese exhibit at theW. C. E., 
1893, at Chicago, together with interesting information concerning them. 

The Shichito-i (C. unitans) is cultivated both in upland or "Hata" and rice field or 
"Ta" (the irrigated lands). If it is grown in upland, soil of a moist nature is pref- 
erable, while in paddy field, too much water is undesirable. Shichito-i is propa- 
gated from roots, and for this purpose the bundles of three or four plants separated 
from the mother stubbles are transplanted in well-cultivated and manured nursery 
ground, in rows of 5 sun, or 6 inches, apart at a distance of samo length between the 
bundles. The plants raised in 20 " Tsubo" of such nursery ground are sufficient for 
transplanting in a "Tan" of the field (300 tsubo = l tau; 10 tau=l cho, andlc7*o=2 
acres). For transplanting Shichito-i in the paddy field, or " Ta," the land is deeply 
cultivated soon after the harvesting of rape or wheat crops, and well pulverized and 
manured with rape cake or " Shochu-kasu," the quantity of which depends greatly upon 
the character of soil, and then the land is irrigated. Twoor three root plants together 
are transplanted in the rows of 5 sun apart at a distance of 3 sun between the plants. 
Ten days after transplanting the water is withdrawn and the land is dried to a cer- 
tain degree, and weeds are eradicated, and again the land is watered. These proc- 
esses of drying, weeding, and watering the land are repeated two or three times 
during the summer months, and the second manuring is also given in the month of 
July. Shicliito-i is ready for harvesting at eighty to one hundred days after trans- 
planting, in fact, the reaping of the plants takes place from the end of August to the 
middle of September. For harvesting the rushes, the weather must be very fine. 
The rushes are torn lengthwise into two parts with special tools and dried on sandy 
ground or grass land. 

The varieties of mats from this species represented in the collection are as follows: 
Kikaiori Hana-mushiro, Damask Hana-mushiro, common Hana-mushiro, two forms; 
Seidaka Hana-mushiro, manufactured at Bungo. 

* Specimens, Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Cyperus vaginatus. Sheathed GtAlinoale. 

One of the most widely and most copiously distributed of the rush-like plants of 
all Australia. Its fiber is extraordinarily tough, and accordingly can be formed into 
a very tenacious paper, which, moreover, proves one of great excellence. The raw 
12247— No. 9 10 



146 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

material is available by thousands of tons on periodically flooded river flats, swampy 
depressions, and other moist localities where a continued harvest of the plant can 
not possibly exhaust the soil. (Dr. Ferd. von Mueller). 

Of this plant (under the name of C. textilis) Spon says: "It is the best indigenous 
fiber plant in Australia, and is likewise notable as being with ease converted into 
pulp for good writing paper." 

Cypress, of Xorth Carolina. Taxodium distichum. 

Cytisus scoparius. Broom. 

A leguminous species of shrub better known as yielding a dyestuff. Has been 
recommended as a paper stock. The statement that it was formerly employed in 
Italy and south France in textile fabrics is doubted, though Savorgnan includes it 
in his work under the name Gineslra da Granate. the bark of which yields an indif- 
ferent fiber. Probably has been confused with the Gintstra di Spagna, or Sjjartium 
junceum, whieh has been used for fabrics for ag - 

Dab grass (see Eragrostis cynosuroides). 

Daedalia quercina | see under Fomes). 

Daemia extensa. 

Exogen. Asclepiadacea . Shrubby climber. 

Hotter parts of India. Distributed to Afghanistan. Malay Peninsula. A common 
weed in the Deccan. 

Bast Fiber. — The stems supply a fine and strong fibrous material, which has been 
recommended as a substitute for flax. "A very pretty fiber, sometimes used for fish- 
ing lines " ( Watt). Said to have been awarded a medal at the Madras Exhibition, 1895. 

Dagassa (Ind.). EJeusine eoracana. 

Dagger plant. Yucca spp. 

Daguilla (Span.). See Lagetta. 

Dais cotinifolia. Afkicax Button Flower. 

Exogen. Thymela-avea. A large tree. 
Cape of Good Hope. Cultivated in Australia. " The bark is very tough. A val- 
uable yellow. dye has been extracted from the bark at the Melbourne Botanic Gar- 
dens." Other plants of the genus are found in the subtropical portions of Asia. 
This species is referred to by Dr. Guilfoyle, who states that it produces a fiber of 
fine quality. 

Damajagua (Ecuad.). See Hibiscus tiliaceus. Also written Huamaga, 

Damagua. and Emajagua. 

Damajuhato Pern). See Gouratari tauari. 
Daphne cannabina. The >epal Paper Plant. 

S yii. I)aph n e }> apyra cea . 

Exogen. ThymeUiaceo:. Shrub, or small tree. 
An India species, native of the Himalayas, which is said to supply the raw material 
of the well-known Nepal paper. Said to thrive only near the oak. 

Bast Fiber.— The inner bark, when prepared like hemp, affords a very superior 
paper, particularly adapted to cartridge manufacture. "The process of making 
paper from this plant is thus described in the Asiatic Researches : After scraping tin- 
outer surface of the bark, what remains is boiled in water with a Bmall quantity of 
oak ashes, After the boiling it is washed and beaten to a pulp on a stone. It is then 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 147 

spread on molds or frames made of bamboo mats. The Setburosa, or paper shrub, 
says the author in the above journal, is found on the most exposed parts of the 
mountains, and those the most elevated and covered with snow throughoirt the prov- 
ince of Kuimfon. It is invariably used all over Kuniaon, and is in great request in 
many parts of the plains for the purpose, of writing misub-namahs or genealogical 
records, deeds, etc., from its extraordinary durability. The paper is generally made 
about one yard square, and of three different qualities. The best sort is retailed at 
the rate of 40 sheets for a rupee, and at wholesale 80 sheets. The second is retailed 
at the rate of 50 sheets for a rupee, and 100 at wholesale. The third, of a much 
smaller size, is retailed at 140 sheets, and wholesale 160 sheets to 170 for a rupee." 
A very complete account of the plant occurs in the Die. Ec. Prod. Ind., Vol. III. 

Daphne spp. 

1). gnidium is reported in southern Italy, where it abounds on stony slopes and is 
used in the same manner as the Indian species. D. laureola is mentioned in Ber- 
nard in's list as another Italian fiber species. This author also lists D. sinensis (odora) 
from China, and D. laureola is reported by Spon as abundant in Spain, where its fiber 
is somewhat employed. 

Daphnopsis leguizamonis. Bira-bira. 

A genus of South American Thymelceacece. The species named was represented in 
the collection of Argentina, W. C. E., 1893. The fiber was produced from the bast. 

A beautiful example of the delicate, white, lace-like fiber of D. tinifolia, known 
as burn-nose bark, has been sent me by William Fawcett, of the Jamaica Botanic 
Garden. Lofgren also mentions D. brasiliensis, the Embira branca. 

Darakhte-shanah (Pers.). Abutilon indicum. 
Dasylirion graminifolium. Bear Grass of Texas. 

Endogen. Liliacecc. Aloe-like leaf cluster. 

The species of this genus are chiefly Mexican plants, although the one named is 
found in Texas. The jdants have short stems and densely crowded linear leaves 
(which furnish the fiber), drooping gracefully, and generally having a little brush- 
like tuft of fibers at the point. From amidst these leaves the flower stalks rise to-a 
considerable height, the upper portion being crowded with a dense panicle of flowers. 
Fig. 2, PI. IV, is a Dasylirion grown in the United States Botanical Garden. 

Structural Fiber. — The old museum collection of the Department contained a 
sample of this fiber, without data other than the name. It resembles Istle, is about 
2 feet in length, fully equal to it in strength, though in color it is darker, due very 
likely to improper mode of preparation. A peculiarity of this sample is that the 
filaments are filled with kinks, as though the fiber had been folded upon itself a 
number of times. These do not impair the strength, however, the breaking point 
coming oftener between than on the u joints," as these kinks appear to be, for the 
filament has no stiffness at this point. This should not be confounded with the bear 
grass of the Southern States, Yucca jilameniosa, an inferior fiber. 

D. texanum and D. wheeleri of the Southwest have thick clusters of long, slender 
leaves Avhich can be split into fibers. I doubt whether these are textile, or good for 
anything finer than mats and basketry. (Dr. V. Havard.) D. glaucopliyllum is a 
Mexican species that has been introduced into Australia (Guilfoyle's List). 

* Specimen. — Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Date palm (Ind.). See Phoenix dactylifera. 
Datil (see Cocos datil). 
Datilera (Peru). See Phoenix dactylifera. 
Dealibanni (Giiian.), Geonoma baculifera. 



148 USEFUL FIBEK PLANTS OF THE WORLD 

Debregeasia hypoleuca. 

Exogen. Urticacea . A large shrub. 
Abounds in the western temperate Himalayas; distributed to Afghanistan and 
Abyssinia. Watt states that the different species of Debregeasia yield strong and useful 
fibers, which are more or less extracted by the hill tribes of India. The liber of the 
species named is valued in the Panjab for net ropes on account of its resistance to 
the action of water. It is not steeped, but merely dried, and when brittle is beaten, 
the liber separating readily. The liber is chiefly used by the natives for ropes with 
which to tether their cattle. 

Debregeasia velutina. 

Another Indian species, which is found in the Himalayas from 2,000 to 2,500 feet 
elevation, and at 7,000 on the Xilgiri hills. 

In the Madras Manual of Administration (Vol. I, 313) it is mentioned as one of the 
chief fiber plants of the Presidency. The manager of the Glen Pock Fiber Company, 
Wynaad, is reported to have sent a consignment, presumably of this liber, to London. 
It was valued at £70 per ton. Of the Madras Presidency it is commonly stated that 
it is much used both by the natives generally and the managers of coffee estates. 
Mr. J. Cameron, superintendent of the Botanic Gardens, Bangalore, states that "this 
is one of the commouest and most conspicuous plants in the Wynaad and Nilgiri 
sholas. Its fiber is used for bowstrings, and it would only appear to require to be 
better known to be much appreciated." 

D. wallichiana, Indian, also yields a fiber lit for cordage, and D. edulis is a Japanese 
species that has been recommended for cultivation in Victoria. 

Deckanne or Deccan hemp (Ind.). See Hibiscus cannabinus. 
Deishar (Arab.). Abutilon indicum. 
Dendrocalamus strictus. 

An Indian species of bamboo, the crushed stems of which have been an article of 
export for paper making. See Bambusa. 

Deorajute (see Corchorus). 

Derris scandens. 

A handsome climbing shrub belonging to the Leguminosa?, met with in the eastern 
Himalayas and western Ghats of India, the bark of which affords a coarse cordage 
fiber. 

Desi jute (see Corchorus). 
Desmodium molle. 

Exogen. Leguminosa>. An annual shrub. 

A species of forage plant which abounds in Georgia and Florida, and which a 
Georgia writer considers as good, for the locality, as clover. 

Specimens of the canes were submitted to the Department as of possible utility 
in fiber production. The fiber is, however, of doubtful utility for any purpose, with 
the disadvantage of a small yield. A stem free from branches and (i feet high can 
easily be grown in sandy soil if the seed is sown thickly. 

Desmodium tiliaefolium. 

This is an Indian species that is extensively employed for rope making and is also 
used for paper manufacture in the Himalayas. It is said thai the liher is exported 
to Tibet from Kumaon for paper stock. 1). latifolium, India and Ceylon, is used for 
the same purpose. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



149 



Desmoncus macroacanthus. The Jacitara. 

This species grows in the Catinga forests of the Upper Rio Negro and on the mar- 
gins of small streams, climbing over trees and hanging in festoons between them, 
throwing out its armed leaves on every side to catch the unwary traveler. The stem 
of this palm is very slender, weak, and 
tlexible, often sixty or seventy feet long, 
and climbing over bushes and trees or 
trailing along the ground. It is armed 
with scattered tubercular prickles. 
The leaves grow alternately, along the 
stem ; they are pinnate, with from three 
to five pairs of leaflets, beyond which 
the midrib is produced and armed with 
several pairs of strong spines directed 
backward, and with numerous smaller 
prickles. The leaflets are ovate, with 
the edges waved or curled. The bases 
of the petioles are expanded into long 
membranous sheaths. The spadices 
grow on long stalks from the axils of 
the leaves and are simply branched. 
The spathes are ventricose, erect, per- 
sistent, and prickly, and the fruit is 
globular, of a red color, and not eata- 
ble. The rind or bark of this species 
is much used for making the "tipitis" 
or elastic plaited cylinders used for 
squeezing the juice out of the grated 
mandioca root in the manufacture of 
farina. These cylinders are sometimes 
made of the rind of certain water jdants 
and of the petioles of several palms, but 
those constructed of "Jacitdra" are said 
to outlast two or three of the others, 
and though they are much more diffi- 
cult to make, are most generally used 
among the Indian tribes. ( Wallace.) 

This Brazilian palm is mentioned in the Handbook of the State of Para, W. C. E., 
1893, as producing a useful fiber. It is there known as the jacitara. 

Deswal jute (see Corclwrus). 

Devil's cotton (see Abroma augusta). 

Devil's nettle (see Laportea). 

Dhak (Ind.). Butea frondosa. 

Dhaman and Dhamru (Ind.). Greivia asiatica. 

Dhunchi (Ind.). See Sesbania. 

Dianella tasmanica. Broad-leaved Flax Lily. 

A genus of Liliacew found in Australia and southern Asia. They have fibrous roots 
and grass-like leaves. 

Fiber. — This species was secured at the Phila. Int. Exh., 1876, under the name 
D. latifolia. It was prepared by Dr. Guilfoyle, who stated on the label accompanying 
the specimen that the plant grows on the banks of creeks and fern gullies in elevated 




Fig. 47. —A plant of Desmoncus macroacanthus. 



150 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



situations, where its leaves sometimes attain a length of 6 feet. He considered the 
fiber good, and excellent for paper stock. The specimen preserved much of its grass- 
like form, having been prepared experimentally in a simple manner. Some of the 
filaments were white and brilliant, quite strong; a few fibers twisted together 
required quite an effort to break them. Its name does not appear in the list of use- 
ful textile fibers, from which it is to be inferred it has not hitherto been known as a 
fiber-producing plant of any value. 

In Dr. Guilfoyle's recently published brochure, Fibers from Plants, Indigenous 
and Introduced, four other species are mentioned: />. ccerulea; 1). elegans, D. Icevis, 
and 1). revoluta. 

^Specimen. — Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 




mSA s 



«~~5§^ 



~^ 



*m 










WMR 



w/m '% 




Fig. 48.— Tree fern, Dicksonia. 

Dichelachne crinata. Horsetail Grass. 

A tough grass, universally diffused over extra-tropical Australia, and occurring 
also in New Zealand. 

According to Dr. Ferd. von Mueller, this species yields a tenacious paper, especially 
fit tobeusedforthinAvrapping or packing paper. It is notunlikelyto make fair print- 
ing and the less costly kinds of writing and tissue paper. 

Dicksonia culcita. 

This species is mentioned by Hillebrand in the Flora of Hawaii. See under 
Cibotium, where several allied species of tree ferns, snpplying"the Pulu of commerce, 
arc described. Fig. 48 is a species <>f Dicksonia in the U. S. Botanical (hardens. 






DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 151 

Dictyosperma fibrosum. Madagascar Piassaba. 

Endogen. Palmae. 

A species of palm, known as Vonitra, inhabiting the island of Madagascar, the 
trunk of which is densely covered with brownish fibers about 18 inches long, formed 
from the inner sheaths and the edges of the petioles. 

Structural Fiber. — Individual fibers finer and more flexible than Brazilian pias- 
saba and slightly shorter; in other respects resemble it closely. The quantity pro- 
duced was never very large, and in the early stages of the enterprise the fiber was 
shipped in a very rough, uncombed state. Latterly the quality has much improved, 
and during the period when this class of fiber commanded specially high prices the 
shipments were probably remunerative. Owing, however, to the discovery of west 
Africa piassaba, or "bass fiber," obtained from Raphia vinifera, the prices obtained 
for Madagascar piassaba have apparently fallen almost as low as the cost of produc- 
tion; and little has appeared lately in the London market. (Kew Bull., Oct., 1894.) 

Well-combed, straight, and clean fiber is worth in England £30 to £46 per ton. 
Has almost entirely disappeared from the market. 

Diplothemium littorale. Yatay pony. 

A species of palm found in Argentina (Corrientes and Misiones), from the leaves of 
which a good fiber is produced (Niederlein). 

Dirca palustris. Moosewood. 

Exogen. Thymela'acecv. A shrub. 

This species is found in the northern portions of the United States and Canada. 
It does not yield fiber in any sense, though its flexible twigs, which can be readily 
tied in knots, are employed as thongs. Also called leatherwood and wicopy. The 
Department collection contains specimens of the leathery twigs. 

D. occidentalis is a California species. Dr. Havard writes that its strong, tough, 
fibrous bark was formerly much used by the Indians for ropes, nets, and baskets. 

* Specimen. — Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Dishcloth plant (see Luff a). 
Diss (Alg.). See Ampelodesma tenax. 
Djai-soi (Borneo). Cocos nucifera. 
Dodo cloth (see Apocynum). 
Dolichandrone falcata. 

Family Bignoniacece. A small tree of central and southern India, used for timber, 
and also in pharmacy, a decoction being made from its fruits. 

Bast Fiber. — Both D. falcata and J), rheedii yield blackish, coarse bark fibers. 
Specimens of the first named were sent to the Amsterdam Exhibition. 

Dolichos trilobus. 

Exogen. Legnminosce. A bush. 
The genus has representatives throughout the temperate and tropical regions of 
America, Asia, and Africa. They are herbaceous or shrubby plants, or beans, many 
having twining stems. While chiefly valuable as food plants, some species are valued 
for their fiber. "D. trilobus is a very important fiber plant in China, textiles made 
from it being termed grass cloth, like those from nettle fiber. It has been utilized 
from earliest times, and the manufacture is extensive." (Spon.) Several species of 
Dolichos grown in India are described in full by Dr. George Watt, but no mention is 
made of their yielding fiber. See Pachurliizns angulatus, the revised name of the plant, 
D. trilobus having been used in this instance as Spon's name. 



152 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Dombeya acutangula et sp. div. 

Exogens. Sterculiacea . shrubs or small trees. 

The species of Dombeya are African shrubs abounding in Madagascar and Mauri- 
tius, extending as far north as Abyssinia. The plants are often seen in hothouses. 

This species is cultivated in the Island of Bourbon, where it is said to be held in 
esteem for its fiber. A variety, I), angulata, according to Savorgnan. " is cultivated 
in the Island of Reunion for its textile fiber, from which cordage is made." This 
author also mentions D. ferruginea, Isle of France, as yielding a strong fiber fit for 
cordage. Spon states that the fibrous bark of another Madagascan species, I), can- 
nabina (D. viscosa), is made into strong ropes. The bark of 1). platanifolia, according 
to A. A. Black, is also used in Madagascar for the manufacture of ropes, twines, etc. 
1). wallichii is mentioned by Bernardiu, and in the Flax and Hemp Commission list. 

Dombeya natalensis. 

Fiber of the above species, which is a native of Xatal, was received from the Vic- 
torian collection of Dr. Gulfoyle, Phil. Int. Exh., 1*76. In Victoria the plant forms 
a most beautiful flowering shrub or small tree and is of quick growth. Its fiber is 
suitable for cordage or for paper stock. Like all the species belonging to this family, 
the fiber is brownish in color, though lighter than lf KurHjong," and, judging from 
the museum samples, is a little stronger. It is at best, however, a very coarse fiber 
and is not to be compared with mallow fiber of the commonest description, neither 
is it as fibrous in texture as Commersonia. 

* Specimen. — Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Doryanthes excelsa. Spear Lily. 

Endogen. Amaryllidacece. Aloe-like leaf cluster. 

Habitat. — East Australia. 

The plant is "a tail straight stem, 20 feet high, springing from an aloe-like tuft of 
broadly ensiform-spreading basal leaves, the stem itself clothed with much smaller 
appressed ones/' The stem terminates in a bulky flower head composed of crimson 
flowers. It is sometimes met with in cultivation. 

Structural Fiber. — Specimens were secured from the Xew South Wales and 
Victorian collections received with the Australian exhibit, Phil. Int. Exh., 1876. 
According to Dr. Guilfoyle, who has prepared its fibers experimentally, the leaves 
are a complete mass of fiber of great strength, fit for strong ropes, matting, cordage, 
etc. It can also be employed m paper making with good results. It is of moder- 
ately quick growth in Victoria. The specimen has not been thoroughly prepared, 
as some of the filaments are quite white, while the majority are a rust red. They 
are stiff but fine, the white fibers being smooth and glossy. In strength the sample 
examined is considerably below the average of fibers in this family. 

In a recent publication Dr. Guilfoyle mentions I), palmeri, and I), guilfoylei, the 
Giant Queensland Lily, as fiber producing. 

* Specimens. — Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Dowaniya (Ceyl.). See Grewia. 
Doum palm. Hyphame thebaica. 
Dracaena draco. Dragon's Blood Tree. 

Endogen. Liliacea'. 

Habitat. — Teneriffe, Canary Islands. Cultivated in Australia. See fig. 49. 

J), draco "has a tree-like stem, simple or divided at the top, and often, when old, 
becoming much branched, each branch terminated by a crowded head of lanceolate, 
linear, entire leaves of a glaucous-green color, which embrace the stem by their 
base." The tree derives its name from a resinous secretion or exudation known to 
commerce as dragoon's blood, which at one time formed an article of considerable 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



153 



export from the Canaries. Some of the plants are gigantic in size, " the colossal 
dragon tree at the town of Orotovia, in Teneriffe, heing 75 feet high and 48 feet in 
circumference, with an antiquity which must at least he greater than the pyramids." 
Structural Fiber. — Specimens received with the Victorian collection from the Mel- 
bourne Botanic Garden, where it is thoroughly estahlished. Dr. Guilfoyle states that 
"the ffber is strong and flexible, but the tree is of very slow growth." It is prepared 




Fig. 49. — Greenhouse plant of Draccena draco. 



from the leaves, and is white, fine, and lustrous, and between 18 inches and 2 feet in 
length. It is not as strong, however, as the Cordyline libers, though much softer. 

Bernardin mentions four species: D. draco, J), mauritiana, I). margvnata, from Mau- 
ritius, and D. terminalis, Sandwich Islands, known as Ti. Hillebrand refers this 
8 pecies, however, to Cordyline, and states that the leaves are used in Hawaii as wrap- 
pers for food, or for plates. Ti is the Tahitian name of the tree. 

"Specimens. — Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. ; Bot. Mus. Karv. Univ. 

Dragon's blood tree (see Draccena). 



1~)4 USEFUL Flr.ER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Dregea volubilis. 

Exogen. Asclepiadacece. Tall climbing shrul). 
An Indian species, found in Bengal, Assam, Tin- Deecan, and Ceylon. Contains a 
Btrong fiber nsed by the natives. In Bombay tbe creeper is used as a cordage sub- 
stitute in binding bundles of wood. 

_ u ' OeyL . Sec Anodendron. 
Dun ( 

Dunchee End.). See Sesbania aculeata. 
Dwabote Burm.). See Kydia. 

Edgeworthia gardneri. 

Exogen. ThymelceacecB. A large bush. 

Found in the Himalayas between 4.000 and 9.000 feet elevation. 

Bast Fiber. — The strong, tough fiber obtained from the long, straight, sparsely 
branched twigs of this bush must, sooner or later, become one of the most valuable 
of Indian fibers. The finest qualities of Xepal paper are made from this plant, which 
produces a whiter paper than that obtained from Daphne canndbina. ( Watt.) 

Edgeworthia papyrifera. Mjtsumata of Jap ax. 

One of the three species of plants employed in the paper industries of Japan. 
The fibers of Mitsumata (E. papyrifera) and Ganpi ( JTikstromia canescens) are not 
considered strong enough to use singly for paper making, yet they are used exten 
sively with other coarse raw materials ''in order to give tenderness, smoothness, 
and luster to paper of low quality." 

Fiber. — The specimens in the Department collection from Japan are in the form 
of raw stripped bast, and the same bleached and cleaned of epidermis and woody 
matter. The strips are 6 to 8 feet in length, very clean, and yellowish white in color. 
There is also a sample of pulp, and different forms of paper. 

Economic considerations. — Soil fit for the Mitsumata is about the same as that 
for the paper mulberry plant, but the topographical conditions suitable show quite a 
contrary result, the paper mulberry flourishing in exposed situations, while the Mit- 
sumata succeeds in shaded places, but free from stagnant water, and consequently 
the best situation for the Mitsumata culture is the slope of mountains or hill sides, 
the soil, gravel loam, belonging to the paleozoic or mesozoic geological formation. 

It can be propagated either by seed, layering, or by cuttings; but the most exten- 
sive and practical method is raising plants from the seed. The seed is sown between 
the rows of barley or wheat or any other places where they are not exposed to sun- 
light. "When the land is poor, some liquid manure is given to the row before the 
seed is sown. In March of the next year the young shoots are dug out and trans- 
planted at the rate of 5,000 per tan 1 on hilly places or 6,000 per tan on level land. In 
planting out it is considered that a close plantation is rather better than an open 
one. Plowing should be done two or three times a year, manuring at the same time 
either with Chochin cake (by-product of rice spirit brewing), oil oake. or rice bran, 
or sometimes with green manure. 

It yields the first crop in the second year, and afterward every other year. It is 
harvested from November to March of the next spring, the yield commonly ranging 
at about 300 kilograms per acre, though there are some cases of a product of over 
1,000 kilograms of raw bark. The process of bleaching is quite the same as employed 
for paper mulberry bark. Brovseom tin papyrifera. 

Edredon vegetal (see Ochroma lagopus). 
Ehuawa (Hawaii). Cyperns l&vigatus. 

i<i a. See under Ct/perw ratten*. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



155 



JGjoo or Eju (Malay). See Arenga. 

Elaeis guineensis. Oil Palm. 

Endogen. Palmes. Palm, 20 to 30 feet. 

This genus includes the oil palm of west Africa, which has been introduced into 
the West Indies, and several mostly South American and West Indian species. 

Structural Fiber. — This is obtained from the inner leaflets of the plant, and is 
described as being almost as fine and tenacious as human hair. It is extensively 
used by the natives for fishing lines and other purposes where great strength is 
required. 

In the preparation of this fiber a considerable amount of skill is shown. The 
pinnae of the young leaves which have not been hardened by exposure are the only 
ones that can be made use 
of. If too old, the fiber can 
not be separated from the 
tissue, and if gathered 
before the leaves have 
opened it has not sufficient 
strength to stand the rough 
handling which it has to 
undergo while in process of 
manufacture. If gathered 
at the right age the strip- 
ping of the fiber offers no 
difficulties, although the 
process is both tedious and 
wasteful. So far as can be 
ascertained, the only use 
to which this fiber is put 
is the making of fishing 
lines and fine cords. It 
would appear to be too 
costly for native cloth, net, 
or bag making. The fol- 
lowing results of actual 
experiments will serve to 
show the tedious and ex- 
pensive nature of the pro- 
cess which has just been 
described: A day's hard 
work is counted well spent 
on the production of 6 
ounces of fiber from 36 
I>ounds of the raw mater- 
ial. Estimating the value 
of labor to the native at not more than 3d. a day, and leaving out of consideration 
the time expended in collecting and sorting the leaves in the forest, the actual cost 
of this material to the producer can not be calculated at less than £75 a ton. It is 
therefore clear that it would be impossible to develop an export trade in this article 
at the present rate of European prices. (Kew Bull., March, 1892.) 

Spon mentions the species and says of the fiber that "it has not received the 
attention it seems to merit. The filaments are fine, clean, and regular, like bundles 
of horsehair; and are supple and very strong. 7 ' E. melanococca, the " Corozo," is 
named in Dr. Ernst's list of Venezuelan fiber palms. 

Ela-wewel (Ceyl.). See Calamus rotang. 




Fig. 50. — The oil palm, Elms guineensis. 



15 G USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Eleocharis acuta. Slender Spike Rush. 

A genus of cyperaceons plants having a wide range from the torrid zone almost to 
the arctic. This species is common in Australia in moist situations, and is allied to 
the creeping spike rush of middle Europe. It is named by Dr. Ferd. von Mueller, of 
Melbourne, as a good paper stock. '' The local experiments here show this and many 
other cyperaeeous plants exquisitely adapted for good printing and tissue paper, 
and a by no means very inferior writing paper. Better appliances will necessarily 
improve the quality of the paper." (Dr. Ferd. ran Mueller.) 

The stout spike rush, E. spliacelata, a swamp land species of southeast Australia 
and Tasmania, is said by the same authority to be applicable to similar uses. E. plan- 
taginea and E. fistulosa are Ceylon species, from the culms of which sleeping mats 
are made, and examples of these are preserved in the Kew Mus. 

Eleocharis palustris. 
Syn. Scirpus palustris. 

A sedge common in America, Europe, northern Asia, and southern Africa. Used 
in the same manner as the common bulrush. Scirpus lacustris, which see. Savorg- 
nan states that E. palustris is especially valued in Holland for making beautiful 
matting. 

Elephant Grass. Tyjpha latifolia. 

Eleusine coracana. Ragi Millet. 

Endogen. Graminece. An erect annual grass, 2 to 4 feet. 

COMMON names. — African Millet ; Ragi Millet. Indian names, Dagassa, Kora- 
]:«>i, and Mandua. 

il Cultivated in India, southern China, Japan, and in many parts of Africa for the 
grain, which is used as food. It forms the principal food of many African tribes. 
In spite of the bitter taste of the flour, a kind of bread or unleavened cake is made 
of it. Beer is brewed from the grain in Abyssinia. Said to yield good crops even 
on very poor soil, and may be cultivated in the same way and for the same purposes 
as millet." {F. Lamson-Scribner.) 

Savorgnan states that fiber has been extracted from this species which is useful for 
rough cordage. E. indica, which has been distributed throughout the warmer coun- 
tries of the globe, is particularly abundant in the Southern States, growing in culti- 
vated grounds about dwellings, etc. It has somewhat wiry, flattened stems, many 
springing from a single root, and rather thick leaves. It might be useful as a paper 
plant ; known as wire grass, crab grass, etc. 

Elionurus hirsutus. 

Endogen. Graminece. A perennial grass, 1 to 2 feet. 
India. "Watt mentions that the roots are claimed to yield a til>er for use in weav- 
er's brushes. 

Elm (see TJlmus). 

Elodea canadensis. Water Weed. 

Bernardin gives E. canadensis as a paper material. « >f doubtful utility. 

Elymus arenarius. Sea Lyme Grass. 

This species, allied to the common barley, is known as a common sand-binding grass 
along the shores of Great Britain, but is found also in other parts of Europe and in 
America, particularly on "our North Atlantic coast and on our western shores from 
Santa Cruz, Cal., northward to within the arctic zone. The seeds are used for food 
by the Digger Indians of the Northwest , and as the grass springs up around their 
deserted lodges it is called by the settlers 'Rancheria" grass. This lyme grass is 
usually regarded as possessing little or no forage value, but in very moist climates 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



157 



or under certain favorable conditions it may yield a valuable fodder, for when young 
the grass is tender and nutritious." (F. Lamson-Scribner .) See fig. 51. 

Structural Fiber. — This species has been employed in Labrador in the manu- 
facture of table mats and baskets, and it might be worthy of consideration as a paper 
stock. E. arenarius is one of the most useful basket grasses of the Aleutian island- 
ers, though E. mollis and E. sibiricns are also 
employed. Dr. O. T. Mason states that the 
material js employed not only when macer- 
ated and treated as hemp, but as a straw 
plait, which is described as follows: 

The ornamentation on the outside of the 
mats and baskets is formed by embroidering 
on the surface with strips of the straw in- 
stead of the macerated fiber, which forms 
the body of the fabric. The einbroidtry 
stitches in these, as in most savage basketry, 
does not always pass through the fabric, but 
are more frequently whipped on, the stitches 
passing always between the two woof strands, 
as in aresene embroidery, showing only on 
the outside. There is no Chinese or Japa- 
nese basket in the National Museum showing 
this plaited weft. The grass of these Aleutian 
wallets is exceedingly fine, the plaiting done 
with exquisite care, the stitches being often 
as fine as 20 to the inch, and frequently bits 
of "colored worsted are embroidered around 
the upper portion, giving a pleasing effect. 
(Dr. 0. T.Mason.) 



Emajagua (Peru). 
aceus. 



See Hibiscus tili- 



Embauba (Braz.). See Cecropia pel- 
tata. 




FlG. bl.—Elymus arenarius. 



Embira (Braz.). See Xylopia sericea. 

The term has likewise been used in the sense of bark, usually with an affix, as 

Embira-ocu (see Lecythis). Sometimes written En vim. preta means the black 

embira. branca, Xylopia grandiflora, and Daphnopsis brasiliensis. 

Embirama. Same as the above, Xylopia. 
Emblrussu (Braz.). See > Bombaoc pubescens. 
Enea (Venez.). Typha angustifolia. 
Enhalus koenigii. 

A genus of Hydrocharitacecv, this species being found in the Island of Celebes, where 
•' it is highly valued for its fruit and for its fiber" (Savorgnan). 

Entada scandens. Leguminosce. 

A species of climbing plant native to the Tropics of both hemispheres, the tough 
bark of which is claimed to be used in Ceylon for ropes. 

The pods of this species often measure 6 or 8 feet in length. The seeds are about 
2 inches across by ■£ an inch thick, and have a hard, woody, and beautiful polished 



158 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



shell, of a dark brown or purplish color. In the Tropics the natives convert these 
seeds into snuffboxes, scent bottles, spoon.-, etc., and in the Indian bazaars they are 
used as weights. (A. Smith.) 

Entelea arborescens. 

Exogen. Tiliaceae. A small tree, 5 to 10 feet. 

Found in New Zealand, where the light wood of the tree is nsed by the natives as 
floats for their nets. 

Bast Fibek. — "From the cortical liher are made ropes, cords, and fishing nets'' 
(Savo rgnt in). E. palmata is aNew Holland species, also included in the Manual Hoepli. 

Envira. 

This word, with an aftix. occurs many 
times in a catalogue of woods exhibited 
by the State of Amazon, Brazil, at the 
W. C. E., 1893. Chicago, as a common 
name for certain trees that yield fiber. 

Exainplesare : dcania, ''furnishes 

a resistant fiber, though little used;" 

preta (or the black envira), "the 

twigs of young plants serve for fishing 
poles, also has a fiber of resistant qual- 
ity ;" pixuna and aurucucu, 

the same: taia, or Queimoza, 

••'thick fibrous bark;" de igapo, 

" inner hark holds the best known fiber 
for cords.'" See Embira. 




Epicampes macroura. 
Boot. 



Broom 



Endogen. Graminece. A grass, 6 to 

7 feet. (See fig. 52.) 
Common axd native names. — 
Broom root, Mexican whisk. I.'ai; 
de Zacaton (Mex.) ; Chiendent (Ft.). 
Broom root, or zacaton, is a wild plant 
which grows in profusion on the high 
plains included in Huamantla, San An- 
dres. Chalchicomula. Perote. and San 
Felipe del Obraza, and other localities 
of Mexico having a cold climate. It 
not only was not cultivated, but until 
its export made it of commercial impor- 
tance proprietors of plantations were at 
considerable expense to rid their fields of the weed. In 1884 it was exported exclu- 
sively from Vera Cruz, and in five years its exportation amounted to 1,763,680 pounds. 
In 1889 it was stated l>y M. Chas. Bam that a Frenchman \v;is producing zacaton on 
a plantation upon the slopes of the Popocatapetl and the Yxtaeihuatl. with a pay 
roll of 500 workmen. 

STRUCTURAL FIBER. — This is the roots of the grass, which "are about 9 inches to 
a foot long, possessing a wavy character, and about one-sixteenth of an inch in diam- 
eter." When cleansed they are a pale yellow." The Department "specimens were 
secured at the Paris Exp. Univ., 1889, the W. C. E., 1893. and at the C. S. I. Exp., 1895, 
Atlanta, besides commercial samples from II. H. Crocker & Co.. New York City. 

Uses. — It i^ used by the Germans and French to mix with Venetian whisk, derived 
from the roots of Chrysopoyon yryllus, for the manufacture of dandy brushes, clothes 



Fig. 52 — The Mexican broom root. Epicampes 
macroura. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 159 

brushes, carpet brushes, and velvet brushes, Avhich are shipped to tbis country at 
exceedingly low prices. The broom root therefore appears to be a cheap substi- 
tute for Venetian whisk, and it is said that when made into brushes and thoroughly 
dry it is apt to become brittle and break off. For tbis reason it lias never found 
much favor in England. (Kew Bull., Dec, 1887.) Employed in the United States. 

Epicampes rigens. Wood Reed Grass. 

This species is found in California, Mexico, and eastward in New Mexico to west- 
ern Texas. It is a tall-growing rigid grass, pale yellowish green in color, growing 
in tufts in the alkaline regions. It is used by the Indians in basket manufacture. See 
account under Salix lasiandra. 

Epilobium angustifolium. Willow Herb. Fireweed. 

Exogen. Cnagracea'. Perennial herb. 

The species of Epilobium are mostly perennial herbaceous plants from 2 to 7 feet 
high, bearing pod-like vessels, which are filled with cottony seeds. 

Surface Fiber. — Samples of Epilobium down, or silk cotton, were received from 
Utica, N. Y v by the Flax and Hemp Commission in 1863, as specimens of a liber that 
might be used as a substitute for cotton for textile purposes. The fiber was accom- 
panied by home-made samples of " thread," rope, and a piece of quilting to illustrate 
the value of the fiber as a substitute for cotton batting. The fibers are not half the 
length of upland cotton, or not more than three-eighths of an inch, and consequently 
could not be spun ; and, even mixed with other fibers, would fly off in the process 
of manufacture; the fiber is soft, has a silky luster, and is of a creamy white 
color. Examined microscopically, the filaments consist, like most seed hairs, of sin- 
gle cells. Their walls are very thin, make sharp bends, and seem to be brittle, with- 
out the least wind or twist, and, while resembling the down of Asclepias, are of less 
length, with a rather strong longitudinal marking. The specimens are only inter- 
esting in the light of experiment, and from the fact of their having been presented 
by the Flax and Hemp Commission. 

Bast Fiber. — The stalks yield a bast which, according to R. H. Ballinger, of Port 
Townsend, Wash., is used by the Indians of the Northwest for fiber. The fiber is 
doubtless extracted in the green state, for the bast stripped from the dry stalks was 
a most unpromising source of fiber material. 

Spon mentions fireweed under the name Erechthites liieracifolia, and says that the 
plant springs up as a weed on recently cleared land in America. "Its seed pods yield 
a fiber much resembling cotton, but the seeds are smaller and require no ginning to 
separate them from the boll. This fiber may be spun and woven, and wicks, ropes, 
yarn, and paper are said to have been made from it. The application to paper mak- 
ing was especially successful, the product comparing well with the silk-made papers 
of China and Japan." I can find no reference to such use of this plant in America 
under the name fireweed. 

Eragrostis cynosuroides. Dab Grass. 

Endogen. (Waminece. Perennial grass. 

Northwestern Provinces of India. 

Fiber. — It produces a fairly strong structural fiber used for making ropes. In 
the Karnai Settlement Report it is stated that the fiber is used for the ropes of Per- 
sian wheels, and they are said to last for three months or more. Stewart remarks 
that the upper part of the stem is in some places used for making the seives employed 
in paper manufacture. 

Erba bianca (It.). See Artemisia vulgaris. 

Erica spp. The Heathworts. 

E. scoparia and E. vulgaris (now Calluna vulgaris) are stated by Savorgnan to be 
manufactured into brooms, the stems being used. 



160 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



India. Watt states that the hark 



Eriko (Yorub aland). Raphia vinifera. 

Erinocarpus nimmonii. 
Exogen. Tiliacece. A tree. 
Found in the Deccan and Bombay Presidency ; 
is said to yield an excellent fiher for ropes. 

Eriodendron anfractuosum. White Cotton Tree. 

Exogen. Malvacecc. Tree, 50 to 60 feet. 

Native and common names.— The White Cotton Tree (Ind.) ; Kapok floss tree 

(Java); Imbul (Ceyl.); Thinoawle (Burm.); Safed-semal (Hind.) ; Shtvet simul 

(Beng.); Ceiba and pochote (Mex. and Cent. Aim); Pemm (Maya of Yucatan). 

According to the Flora of British India this species occurs in the forests of the 

hotter parts of India and Ceylon, and 
has found its way to South America, the 
West Indies, and tropical Africa. 

Surface Fiber. — The commercial 
kapok of Java. Beautiful examples of 
this substance, the most valuable of all 
the silk cottons, seed hairs, or downs, 
from the commercial standpoint, were 
secured from the Holland exhibit, W. 
C. E., 1893, though erroneously stated to 
be the product of Calotropis gigantea. 
Kapok, or the floss from the seeds of this 
Eriodendron, "is, according to the pres- 
ent demand, a fiber of great merit. The 
modern trade in it was created by the 
Dutch merchants, their supply being 
drawn from Java. It is used in uphol- 
stery, being too short a staple to be spun, 
and. indeed, too brittle and elastic. But 
these are the very properties that com- 
mend the floss to the upholsterer. In 
cushions, mattresses, etc., its elasticity 
and harshness prevent its becoming 
matted as in the case with simal floss 
from Bombax malabaricum, and it is there- 
fore considerably superior to that fiber. 
Indeed, it is probable that the even still 
shorter staple of Coclilosperum would in 
time command a better price than that 
of the simal. Like kapok it is very elas- 
tic, the fiber springing up to its former 
position the moment the weight is re- 
moved from the cushion. With simal, on 
the other hand, a very short time suffices to make a mattress assume permanently 
a compressed condition, in which it occupies, perhaps, less than half its original 
bulk, and at the same time becomes knotted. This necessitates the removal of the 
stuffing to be teased or rudely carded." ( Walt.) While this species of silk cotton is 
well known in tropical America, it does not seem to have reached commercial impor- 
tance, as the only records regarding its utility refer to household uses by the natives 
or country peoplo in the localities where produced. The Mexican specimens in the 
Department collection came from the State of Oaxaca, and arc bright, soft, and lus- 
trous with good elasticity. One of the native Mexican uses for this substance is for 
candle wicks. See also Cottons (Silk Cottons) in alphabetical arrangement. 




Fig. 53. —Cotton grass, E riophorum angustifoliu m . 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



161 



Since the Chicago Exposition kapok has come into use commercially in this coun- 
try, being employed as an upholstery fiber. 
* Specimens. — Mus. IT. S. Dept. Ag. 

Eriodendron samauma. 

Flourishes along tbe river banks of portions of Brazil, particularly the Rio Negro. 
"It is the tallest and most flourishing tree of tbe Amazon forests, attaining over 120 
feet in height, with a diameter difficult to be calculated in consequence of the 
number of hard roots that in the form of a star proceed from tbe base of the trunk. 
When young the tree has thorns that disappear when it attains its full growth. 
These thorns are used as ornaments among some of the Indian tribes. The Indians 
of the upper Purus weave and make mats of the fiber." (From a Catalogue of Forest 
Products of Brazil, W. C. E., 1893.) "Silky, satin-like, and of an exceeding tenuity 
and beauty are the cottons which in- 
volve the seeds of the capsular fruits 
of monguba .and samauma — Bombax mun- 



guba, Mart ; and Eriodendron samauma. 
Raw material of great abundance, and 
already utilized in Brazil for the manu- 
facture of costly threads and twists, it 
contains an invaluable substitute for 
beaver for velvety and luxurious felts." 
(Notes on the State of Para.) 

This fiber was also met with at the 
Phil. Int. Exh., 1876. The tree was 
stated to be the largest in the Amazon 
region, "the fruit containing a silk 
much sought after for mattresses" (De 
Gama). 

Eriolasna hookeriana. 

It is said that the bast of this Indian 
species of Sterculiacece yields a good 
fiber, examples of which were sent to 
the Paris Exposition, 1878, and to the 
Colonial and Indian Exhibition, 1886. 

Eriophorum comosum. Cot- 
ton Grass. 

Endogen. Cyperaceai. Sedge-like 
perennial herb. 

Common in India, allied species 
abound in Europe. 

Structural Fiber. — A silky grass, 
the fibrous leaves of which are employed 
locally in India for twine, cordage, and 
even for rope bridges, though such ropes 

do not last over a year. ' ' The fiber yielded by this plant forms a small portion of what 
is exported to the plains under the name bhdbur ,, ( Watt). The true bhdbur is Isclice- 
mnm angustifolium, which see. In the Kew Bulletin for July, 1888, is found an 
article on the Ischcemum, from which it would appear that E. comosum has been con- 
founded with Andropogon involutus and the true bhdbur, and that only a small part 
of the bulk of grass used by the natives in rope making is from E. comosum. Fig. 53 
illustrates E. angustifolium, Europe. For further accounts see Die. Ec. Prod. Ind., 
Vol. Ill; Bull. Royal Gardens, Kew, July, 
12247— No. 9 11 




Fig. 54.— The lesser cotton grass, Eriophorum 
lati folium. 



162 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



Eriophorum latifolium. Cotton Grass. 

Another species of Cyperacew. Common in Europe. "The British species all 
grow on wet hogs or turfy moors, where they frequently form very conspicuous 
masses of vegetation, in consequence of the long showy silky "bristles of the flowers. 
The English name cotton grass is very expressive, the flowers of some of the species 
appearing like tufts of cotton." (Dr. Moore). The plant is known in Italy as swamp 
flax, Lino della paludi. The fibrous substance mentioned as cotton has no value. 
(See fig. 54.) The leaves of E. cannabinum have been plaited. 

E. polystachion, a British species found in wet hogs and turfy moors, is mentioned 
in the Official Guide Kew Mus., paper and cloth having been made from it. 

Erizo (see Apeiba tibourbou). 

Erolin (see Uses of Flax, under Linum usitatisshnum). 

Erythrina indica. Indian Coral Tree. 

Exogen. Leguminoso?. Medium-sized tree. 
India. Foothills of the Himalayas ; Burma. While the plant is valued in India 
as yielding dye, gum, medicine, timber, and food, its hark is also said to yield a pale- 
yellow fiber that is excellent for cordage. There are several American represent- 
atives of the genus, hut they have not heen noted as producing fiber. E. suberosa 
is mentioned hy Savorgnan as yielding a fiber used for cordage and ship cables. 

Escoba (Tenez.) See Sida rhombifolia. 

Escobadura (Arg.). See Pavonia. 

Escobilla (Cost. Ri.). See Sida. 

Esparto, and Esparto grass. 

The > — of commerce, from Spain and Algeria, Stipa lenacissima. 

sometimes given, also, to Lygeum spartnm ; chino, and 

Fimbristylis spadicea . 



The name is 
mulaio, Mex., 



Espeletia sp. Frailejon. 

An interesting genus of Composite? inhabiting high elevations in Colombia, Ecuador, 
and Venezuela, often 13,000 to 14,000 feet above sea level. Some of them are only a 
foot high, though the larger number are taller. 

Surface Fiber. — The plants are furnished with long, strap-shaped root leaves 
which are densely clothed with a white or rust-colored wool. Specimens of this 
wool were exhibited in tbe Venezuelan court, W. C. E.. 1893, under the common 
name Frailejon. They were collected from the highest parts of the Cordilleras of 
Merida. Refer to Culcitium. 



Esponja. 
Estrapaja. 



Sponge Cucumber. See Luffa, 



Estopa (Braz.)=tow. 

Eta, or Ita palm (see Mauritia flexuosa). 

Eucalyptus obliqua. The Stringy Bark. Gigantic Gum Tree. 

Exogen. ALyrtacecv. 
The trees of this large genus abound in Australia and Tasmania, tbough some of 
the species have been distributed to other countries. Over 100 species are recognized, 
and many of the trees are gigantic in size, and are exceedingly valuable for their 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 163 

timber. E. globulus, the blue gum, E. gigantea, the stringy bark, and E. amygdalina, 
the peppermint tree, yield the best quality. Eucalyptus oil bas attracted some 
attention in late years, particularly since tbe Philadelphia exhibition of 1876. 
E. globulus is well known through its having been recommended for planting in 
malarial districts of this country. 

Bast Fiber. — A specimen of the tow of E. obliqua was received from the Victorian 
collection, Phil. Int. Exh., 1876, prepared by Dr. Guilfoyle. The fiber is reddish in 
color, of little strength, and has been prepared experimentally. No data accom- 
panied the specimen regarding its value, either for fiber or for paper stock, though 
the aborigines of Australia are known to manufacture both canvas and cordage from 
the eucalyptus, which would indicate not only strength, but considerable fineness. 
Fiber marked Eucalyptus fissilis was also sent to the Phil. Int. Exh., 1876, prepared by 
the director of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens, Victoria. Watt mentions that the 
bark of E. globulus yields a substance which has been found suitable for paper mak- 
ing in India. Dr. Ferd. von Mueller also mentions the following species : E. gonicalyx, 
white gum tree, good packing paper; E. leucoxylon, iron bark of New South Wales, 
rough packing paper; E. longifolia, packing paper; E. stuartiana, packing paper and 
pasteboard; E. rostrata, blotting arid filter paper. 

"Specimens. — Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Eugeissona insignis. 

A species of palm found in Borneo. "From the roots the natives weave their 
hampers, baskets, and arm coverings' 7 (Savorgnan). Spon mentions E. tristis, a 
native of Penang, the fibrous leaves of which are woven into mats. 

Eupatorium cannabinum. Hemp Agrimony. 

A species of Composite, native to Europe, found growing in wet meadows; called 
wild hemp, or, in Italy, Cauapa salvatlca. "The stalk yields material for cords/' but 
of slight value. There are many representatives of the genus in North America, but 
none is recognized as the source of a useful textile. 

Euphorbia palustris. 

Exogen. Euplwrbiacece. 

Representatives of the genus are found in many parts of the world, some of the 
species that are cultivated in greenhouses being remarkable for the brilliant scarlet 
bracts of the involucre. Some of the species are used in pharmacy, and the milky 
juice of many, after drying, can be used as a gum or resin, though exceedingly 
acrid. 

Fiber. — In the Italian work of M. A. Savorgnan the species named is stated to 
grow in marshy places and " to furnish textile fiber of very fine quality, but difficult 
to extract; " should be regarded as a curious rather than a useful fiber. 

Euterpe acuminata. 

Endogen. Palma>. 

The palms of the genus Euterpe are of " extremely graceful habit, having slender, 
almost cylindrical stems, sometimes nearly 100 feet in height, surmounted by a tuft 
of pinnate leaves, the leaflets of which are narrow, very regular and close together, 
and generally hang downward. The bases of the leafstalks are dilated, and form 
cylindrical sheaths round a considerable portion of the upper part of the stem, giving 
it a woolen appearance. Ten species are known, all natives of the forests of tropical 
South America, where they grow together in large masses; some inhabiting moist, 
swampy places on the banks of rivers, and others extending a considerable height up 
the sides of mountains." 

Structural Fiber. — Specimens of fiber from the leaves of this palm were cata- 
logued in the exhibit of Costa Rica, W. C. E., 1893, from Talmarca, under the desig- 



164 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



nation '■ Fibras palmiche oscuro, Enocarpus utilis " (= (Enocarpus). In my examination 
of the COsta Rican fibers for award tlio specimen was not found. 

Euterpe oleracea et sp. div. 

Dorca mentions tliree species tliat inhabit Fern, E. oleracea, E. edulis, and E. ensi- 
formis, all of which yield a liber useful for ropes and coarse textures. Orton men- 
tions E. oleracea as occurring on the Amazon, known as the Jitssareira. Agassiz refers 
to a Brazilian species as the Assais, and the Treasury of Botany gives, as the com- 
mon name of E. edulis, "The Assai Palm of Para." The 
beverage manufactured from this species is also known 
as A ssa i. ( See fi g. 55 . ) 

Evening primrose fiber (see Gaura . 

False sisal hemp (Flu. . Sec Agave de- 
cipiens. 

Falseh (Pers.). See Grewia. 

Fatsia papyrifera. The Rice Paper Plant. 

Syn. Aralia papyrifera. 
Endogen. Araliacece. A small tree. 
" This plant grows in the deep, swampy forests of the 
Island of Formosa, and apparently there only, forming 
a small tree, branching in the upper part, the younger 
portions of the stem, together with the leaves and inflo- 
rescence, covered with copious stellate down. The stems 
are filled with pith of very fine texture, and white as 
snow, which, when cut, forms the article known as rice 
paper. Large quantities of the stems are 'taken in 
native crafts from Formosa to Ckinchew, where they are 
cut into thin sheets for the manufacture of artificial 
flowers.' A lengthened account of this interesting plant 
will be found in Hooker's Journal of Botany." (Dr. 
Thomas Moore.) 




Fig. 55.— The Assai, Euterpe 
oleracea. 



Fern. 

Tree 
Hair - 



SeeCiboHnm. sourceofPulu liber; Maiden 



— (see Ad'uutiiim). 

Fe-ru (Afr.). Silk Cotton. 



See Cochlosper- 



m urn tinctorium. 
Laportea crenulata. 



Fever Nettle 
Fiber. 

See Introduction. The classes of fibers recognized in this work are Bast, Struc- 
tural, Surface, Woody, and Pseudo-liber. 

Fibras palmiche oscuro (Cost. Ei.). See Euterpe. 
Fibrilia. 

A textile material made by " cottonizing " the fibers of flax, hemp, jute, China 
grass, and similar vegetable substances, as a substitute for cotton. Fibrilia from 
flax is a form of "flax cotton" (so called). The account of an inquiry by the United 
States Government into the practicability of the establishment of a "flax-cotton" 
industry will be found in the Report of the Flax and Hemp Commission of 18fi3 
(U. S. Dept. Ag., Washington, 1865), but now out of print 
& Co., Boston, 1861 



See Fibrilia, L. Burnett 
See also Uses of Flax under Linum mitatissimum. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



165 



Ficus spp. The Fig, etc. 

This genus of Moracew comprises over 150 species, and a vast number of cultivated 
varieties, including the fig of coininerce known to botanists as Ficua carica. The 
species of Ficus abound either wild or cultivated throughout the warmer portions of 
the globe. (See fig. 56, form of leaf of J 7 , religiose/,.) 

There is scarcely a collection of tropical fibers that does uot contain specimens 
labeled "Ficus," though, unfortunately, it has been so difficult in many instances to 
trace the botanical species that we do not know them. No less than nine species are 
named in Bernardin's Catalogue of Fibrous Plants, amoug which are F. laurifolia, 
Antilles; F. macroplujlla, New South Wales, and F. rubra, Martinique, with the spe- 
cies yielding the fig, and another tho caoutchouc of Assam, representing species 
abounding in southern Europe, Africa, the warm parts of India, and the isles of the 
Southern Ocean, Royle alludes to the genus and says " it is probable that the bark 
of some of the species, like that of the 
paper mulberry, may be converted into 
half-stuff, as the bark of one species is 
used for paper making in the island of 
Ceylon,'' The Museum of the United 
States Department of Agriculture con- 
tains many examples of fiber and manu- 
facture from species of Ficus that are 
unidentified. In Dorca's manuscript list 
of Peruvian fibers, Ficus dendroneida, the 
Matapalo (doubtless F. dendrocida), is said 
to be used by the Indians, who make gar- 
ments from the bark. He also mentions 
the Hugicion, F. gigantea, from which is 
made various kinds of filaments. 

In the Manual Hoepli three species are 
mentioned, as follows: F. indica, India 
and New Caledonia, the bark of which is 
used for cordage; F. prolixa, "a sacred 
tree among the natives of Oceanica, the 
fiber from the bark being used for making 
clothing and textures of all kinds ; highly 
valued as an industrial plant," commonly 
called the Sacred Fig ; the bark of F. reli- 
giose/, is used in New Caledonia for cord- 
age. The fiber of several Indian species 
is mentioned in the Die. Ec. Prod. Ind., 
Vol. Ill, as follows : F. cunia bark used 
to tie the rafters of native houses, and 
affords a strong fiber useful for ropes; 
F. Tiispida, fiber prepared from the bark, in Bombay, used for tying bundles; F. 
infectoria, fiber used for ropes; in Burma a fiber is extracted from the bark of F. reli- 
giosa, which was formerly made into paper and used in umbrellas. Liotard also 
mentions this species as an India paper plant. Ficus (ivapohy)- is included in the 
list of species of fiber plants of Argentina furnished by Dr. Niederlein. 

In the collection of Brazilian fibers (Phil. Int. Exh., 1876) there was one specimen 
that closely resembled the fiber of Broussonetia papyrifera, which was obtained from a 
specimen of " wild fig" found growing on the Doce River, the milk of which is said to 
contain India rubber. Dr. Nicolan J. Moreira, reporting on fibers from Minas Geraes, 
in a little brochure of 16 pages, thus writes of the plant producing these specimens : 

The trunk leaves, or stalk leaves (i. e., layers of bast), although they can not be 
separated into distinct fibers, nevertheless offer an interest not less industrial. By 
soaking, the leaves come out whole; when introduced between iron cylinders, in 




Eig. 56. — Leaves of Ficus religiosa. 



166 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

consequence of the compression suffered, they heconie very thin, yet preserving a 
remarkable width and length. In this condition, to say nothing of their being objects 
of curiosity, it is possible to transform them into thick garments lor country labor- 
ers or other workmen. Without further preparation, letters and official 
documents are written on the precious bark of the rich tree of the Doce River. M, 
Leverino Costa Leitc has taken from one tree 275 cavados (206 yards) of bark sheets 
three-fourths of a yard wide. 

Ficus benghalensis. The B any ax Tree. 

Endogen. UrticacecB. Large spreading tree, 70 to 100 feet. 

India and tropical Africa. 

Many of the species of this genus send out aerial roots from the branches, and these, 
descending to the soil, form lesser trunks, so that the tree covers a large area. 

Fiber. — A coarse rope is prepared from the bark and from the aerial roots. Paper 
is also reported to have been formerly largely prepared in Assam from the bark, and 
to a small extent it is still so prepared at Pakhimpore and in Bellary in Madras. 
This fiber was used by the Sikhs as a slow match. The length of the ultimate fibers 
has, by Cross, Bevan, and King, been ascertained to be 1 to 3 millimeters. The fibers 
obtained from the genus Ficus contain from 40 to 60 per cent of cellulose, and under 
hydrolysis lose from 20 to 40 jier cent of their weight. Chemically they are there- 
fore worthless fibers. ( Watt.) 

Fimbristylis complanata. 

This species belongs to a genus of cyperaceous plants which embraces upward of 
200 species, chiefly natives of warm countries. 

The culms of F. complanata have been used in Ceylon for making mats; the Kew 
Mus. collection contains a mat and rice plate from this species, and samples of Game- 
lotte fiber, and paper pulp and paper from the stems of F. spadicea sent from Vera 
Cruz. Mexican name, Esparto chino and Esparto mulato. 

Fique. 

In the collection of the United States Department of Agriculture there is a beau- 
tiful series of ropes, sandals, etc., collected in Ecuador, labeled with this name. 
Dr. Ernst states that Fique is the same as Cocuiza (Venezuela), Furcraa gigantea, 
which see. 

Fireweed (U. S.). See Epilobium angustifolium. 

Fitzroya patagonica. 

Exogen. Conifercc. Cone-bearing tree, 100 feet. 
This is an evergreen tree, found in South America from Chile to Patagonia. Accord- 
ing to Spon, its outer bark yields a fibrous substance used for calking ships. "The 
tree, which is found in the mountains of Patagonia, bears the ordinary winters of 
Britain" {Prof. J. B. Balfour). 

Flachs (Ger.) = Flax. 

Flax. 

Ancient (see IAnum angustifolium) ; for linen. Linum untatissimum; 

False , Canielina sativa; Lily. Dianella tasmanica : New Zealand . 

Phormium tenax; Mountain (see Cordyline)-, Rocky Mountain , Linum 

lewisii : Travancore (see Crotalaria) ; Swamp , Eriophorum latifolium. 

For references to "llax cotton" and "flax wool," see Uses of Flax, under Linum 
U8itati88imum. 

Foetid aloe (Maurit.). Furcrcea gigantea. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 167 

Fomes fomentarius. Amadou polypore. 

This is a parasitic fungus ou oak, beech, birch, and ash trees, from which is pre- 
pared the amadou or German tinder. Pileus bracket-like, hoof-shaped, 4 to 7 inches 
across, 3 to 5 inches thick at the base, attenuated toward the margin, smooth, dis- 
tinctly concentrically furrowed, dingy brown, becoming hoary; cuticle thick, hard, 
persistent; context rather soft, compact, spongy, foxy rust color; tubes very long — 
^ to 2 inches; pores minute, subangular, ash colored. 

Pseudo Fiber. — While it is hardly to be placed in the category of fibrous sub- 
stances, slices of the fungus have been made into caps, table mats, artificial flowers, 
etc., specimens of which are preserved in the Kew Mus. 

This species and other large Polyporecv may be treated to form " Spongio lignine" 
or "soft amadou," which has the appearance of a pliable leather and has been found 
valuable for chest protectors, hat linings, and various household purposes. The large 
pieces have even been sewed together for making dresses and coarse garments by some 
of the poorer inhabitants of Austria and Hungary. Badham (Esculent Funguses of 
England, 18(33) related that several eminent surgeons of London used it extensively 
in their practice, preferring it toxchamois skin on account of its greater elasticity. 
In America it is largely employed by dentists as an absorbent. Salniasius describes 
the process of its preparation for soft amadou. The fungus is first boiled, then 
beaten to pieces in a mortar, next hammered out to deprive it of its woody fibers, 
and, after being steeped in a strong solution of 'nitrate of potash, dried in the sun. 
(B. T. Galloway.) F. fomentarius has been employed from remote antiquity for the 
development and preservation of fire. 

In the manuscript notes furnished me by Mr. Galloway mention is also made of 
Daclalia qnercina, which is common on oak stumps, but which Hartig (Diseases of Trees) 
suspects to be also parasitic. Its preparation for tinder is accomplished after being 
beaten out and steeped in a solution of nitrate of potassa. F. igniarius, the fire 
fungus, is also mentioned, prepared in the same manner as D. quercina. This is the 
parasitic growth most frequently met with upon dicotyledonous trees. 

Mr. Galloway states that the Bhizomorphw have the strongest, coarsest fibers of any 
growths, but no record appears of their having been utilized in any manner. It would 
seem, perhaps, not impossible that the fine felt-like substance of Zasmirdium cel- 
lare Fr., the golden fibers of Ozonium auricomum Lk., and other filamentous mycelial 
growths might, under stress of necessity, be made into fabrics of some economic value. 

Formio (Span.). New Zealand Flax. See Phormium. 
Forster's palm lily (Austr.). Gordyline austraiis. 
Fraxinus nigra. Northern Swamp Ash. 

Exogen. Oleaceai. A tree, 75 to 90 feet. 

Common names. — Black ash, hoop ash, ground ash, northern swamp ash. 

Southern Newfoundland, northern shores Gulf of St. Lawrence, to Delaware, the 
mountains of Virginia, southern Illinois, and northwestern Arkansas. The wood is 
used for interior finish, fencing, barrel hoops, cabinetmaking, etc. 

Woody Fiber. — The wood is easily separated into thin layers, and on this account 
is largely employed as material for basket manufacture. Splint basket material is 
also made from white ash, white oak, hickory, basswood, etc. The different kinds 
of wood are prepared in the same manner. In preparing the wood for basket mak- 
ing the log is split as near the eye as possible, shaved to the proper thickness, pounded 
with a heavy hammer on an anvil ; the stick is then held in such a position across the 
anvil that by pounding it the grains are loosened so that they can be pulled apart; 
these strips are then smoothed and braided on blocks, which, after being dried ? are 
tightened and are ready for the rims. 



168 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Freycinetia banksii. 

Endogen. Pandanacea. 

This genus of plants is native to the Indian Archipelago, Norfolk Island, and New 
Zealand, and is distinguished by having the habit of growth of Pandanus. 

"The liber will probably be found valuable for paper making" CSpon >. The species 
is not included in the Australasian lists of Dr. Guilfoyle, but is included on the above 
authority. 

Furcraea cubensis. The Cajun. 

Endogen. Amaryllidacecs. Aloe-like leaf cluster. 

Native axd common names. — Cajun (Cent. Am.); Silk grass (Jam.) ; Tobago 
silk grass and Langue Bceuf (Trim). (See Silk Grass in I 'atalogue.) 

This plant is a native of tropical America, but has been distributed to and is culti- 
vated in many tropical countries. 

In this species the leaves are generally armed with long spines. Dr. Parry found 
the plant growing common in Santo Domingo in 1871, and brought back with him 
to the Department samples of the fibers. It is also common in Jamaica, and it is con- 
sidered that there Avould be no difficulty in establishing it in cultivation for its fiber. 
Dr. Schott (U. S. Ag. Rept., 1869) describes it as it grows in Yucatan, placing it in 
the list of " sisal hemps." It differs from its congener, F. gigantea, in having no dis- 
tinct trunk. The leaves are 3 to 5 feet long and 5 inches wide in the middle, bright 
green in color, rigid habit, and are armed with heavy spines. Dr. Schott says that 
the leaves of Yucatan plants are 4 to 5 feet long. It is growing in many places in 
Trinidad, being found at the Bocas Islands, the Maracas valley (where the fine 
variety inermis is found), and is cultivated at Brechin Castle estate and at the con- 
vict depot of Chaguanas. Consequent upon the anticipated demand for plants, many 
thousands were grown iu the Botanic Garden a few years ago, some 20,000 plants 
having been produced. 

Structural Fiber. — This is white, strong, and bright looking, and yields at the 
rate of 2.05 to 3.15 per cent by weight of green leaves. From experiments carried 
on at Jamaica under a committee appointed by Government it was found that haves 
of F. cubensis weighing 366i pounds yielded 28 pounds of green fiber, which, when 
perfectly dry, weighed 1\ pounds. This was at the rate of 2.05 per cent by weight 
of green leaf. Yalue of fiber: (a) £28, good quality, but might be whiter; (6) 
fairly clean, fair color, value about £28 per ton: (c) superior to sisal and worth £27 
per ton — a good fiber, not quite sufficiently white iu the center. {Dr. Morris.) 

Dr. Fawcett states that the fiber of this species may snpply a small part of the 
sisal hemp of commerce. In Dr. Schott's article in the Annual Report of this Depart- 
ment for 1869, the il cajun " ot F. cubensis, is figured opposite to page 259. This 
shows that the plant produces a vast number of narrow leaves, a peculiarity noted 
in the plants mistaken for sisal in Florida, and at the time of my visit I believed 
that it was growing abundantly in Florida, and was the species mistaken for the 
true sisal hemp, both by the Bahama and Florida cultivators. 

The extraction of fiber from this plant, which grows so readily in Tobago and 
Trinidad, was also tried by means of the Death and Kennedy machine, and was cer- 
tainly the most promising of the plants under trial, as it gave the greatest output of 
fiber of first-class quality. From the ease with which it grows it is doubtful if any 
other plant will be able to be grown in competition with it for liber production ; and 
the fiber company of Tobago are sanguine as to their ultimate success with their 
indigenous plant in preference to the imported sisal, and it would appear that their 
reasons are sound; the fiber itself is first-class, the plant is easily and cheaply grown, 
land is easily available, and the want of an economic machine is the only difficulty, 
and one which we all hope will soon be overcome. The plant is being largely culti- 
vated at the convict depot, Chaguanas, and large numbers have been planted on the 
Carrera's Island prison lands, under the supervision of Lionel M. Fraser, esq., super- 
intendent of prisons. (An. Rept. Roy. Bot. Garden, Trinidad, 1890.) 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 169 

Furcraea gigantea. Giant Lily. 

Native axd common names. — The Cabouya or Cabuja (Cent. Ain. and W. Ind.) ; 
Cocuiza and Fique (Venez.) ; Pita and Pita jloja (Cost. Ri.); Peteria (Braz.); 
Aloes vert and foetid aloe (Maurit.); giant fiber lily (Austr.). The fiber is 
known commercially as Mauritius hemp. Fig. 1, PI. VII, is a greenhouse plant 
of this species growing in the United States Botanical Garden. 

The plant is closely allied to the agaves and is found throughout tropical America. 
It grows in Algeria and Natal, and is cultivated in St. Helena and Mauritius. It has 
also been introduced into India, Ceylon, and Australia. It is of moderately quick 
growth and attains great perfection. Like the agaves, these plants have long-lived 
massive stems, immense fleshy leaves, and produce their flowers after many years upon 
tall central stems, in pyramidal, candelabra- like form. 

Structural Fiber. — The fiber very closely resembles the sisal hemp of commerce, 
and doubtless is often so called. Dr. Ernst, in the catalogue of the Venezuelan 
department (Phil. Int. Exh., 1876), states that the fiber is very strong and is used 
for cordage and gunny bags. It is prepared in the same manner as sisal hemp. 
Samples of the Venezuelan specimens are dyed in* aniline to show that it will take 
color. 

The plant is grown largely for fiber at St. Helena and Mauritius, and in the 
London market the product is known as Mauritius hemp. In the Kew Bulletin for 
March, 1887, the plant grown in Africa is described as having leaves 4 to 7 feet long, 
4 to 6 inches broad at the middle, unarmed, light green in color, channeled down 
the face. 

F. gigantea is supposed to have been introduced from South America to Mauri- 
tius about 1790. It has evidently found a congenial home there, for without any 
effort on the part of man it has covered waste lands and adandoned sugar estates to 
such an extent as to lay the foundation of a considerable fiber industry. The 
leaves are often 8 feet in length and from 6 to 7 inches in breadth. The pulp of the 
leaves when crushed gives off a strong pungent odor, and hence this species is some- 
times called the foetid aloe. The juice is strongly corrosive and soon acts upon 
wrought iron; it is said to produce less effect on cast iron, while it is practically 
inoperative on brass and copper. The plant grows in all soils and up to an elevation 
of 1,800 feet above the level of the sea. It has, however, more generally dissem- 
inated itself on the lowlands near the coast and on a few of the abandoned sugar 
estates that have become too dry for cane cultivation. A fiber industry was started 
at Mauritius about 12 years ago, when the wet or retting system was tried. The cut 
leaves were first passed through the rollers of a sugar mill and steeped in water for 
some days. The fiber was then washed and beaten out by hand in running water. 
This process was soon found unsuitable, as the fiber was discolored and rendered 
weak, and consequently commanded comparatively low prices. Attention was then 
directed to extraction by means of gratteuse or scotching machines. Many machines 
have since been tried, and it is believed that the purely mechanical difficulties con- 
nected with cleaning the fiber have been for the most part overcome. The amount 
of fiber obtained from leaves of the Aloes vert was at the rate of 3 per cent by 
weight of green leaves. The yield of fiber was at the rate of about LV tons per acre. 
A set of six machines driven by a steam engine of 8 horsepower (nominal) cleaned 
1,155 pounds of fiber per day, which is at the rate of 193 pounds for each machine 
per day. (Dr. Morris.) 

The production of this fiber is very great, especially in Barginsimeto, Coro, and 
the State Los Andas, where it is known under the name of fique. It is used prin- 
cipally in the manufacture of material for bags, horse blankets, fish nets, halters, 
etc. But it should be produced in even greater quantities to enable us to establish 
manufactories for cordage and bags necessary for the handling of the annual crop 
of grains, as these articles are exported more and more extensively every year, prin- 
cipally to the United States and Germany. (Dr. A. Ernst.) 



170 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Furcraea longaeva. 

"This species Inhabits the mountains of Guatemala and Mexico at about 1,000 feet. 
It is recorded a> liber producing.'' (Spon.) I have not met with species in any 
Central and South American collections, or noted any mention of it in the liber 
literature of tropical America that has come under my notice. 

Furcraea tuberosa. Cabulla. 

A .-ample of this fiber, somewhat resembling Sisal hemp, was exhibited in the 
Costa Rican collection, W. C. E., 1893. It is employed as a textile. 

Fucus see under Macrocystis). 

Furquina (clothing). Colombia. See Couratari. 

Gahnia beecheyi. Fki of Hawaii. 

A genus of Cyperacece tbe species of which are found in eastern tropical Asia and 
Polynesia, New Zealand, Tahiti, the Hawaiian Islands, etc. G. beecheyi is a grass 
found at lower elevations — from 1,000 to 3,000 feet — in Hawaii and Oahu. The stems 
are used to make cords. 

Gahnia radula. 

A native Australian species of Cyperacece commonly known as the Black Reed. 
Specimens of the fibrous material were secured at the Phil. Int. Exh., 1876, prepared 
by Dr. Guilfoyle. The label reads : " This coarse-growing sedge can be had in enor- 
mous quantities throughout the colony (Victoria). It is extensively used by the 
settlers as a thatching material." As a liber it has no value, and it is doubtful if it 
would make good paper. The species is noted in Dr. Guilfoyle's Australasian list. 

Galvan. Venetian name of Andropogon gryllus. 
Gamalote (Yenez.). See Panicum mijurus. 
Gamalotte (Mex.) See Fimbristylis complanata. 
Gampo (Span.). See Hibiscus cannabinus. 
Ganpi fiber (Jap.). See Wikstrcemia. 
Gas (Ceyl.)=a tree. 
Gaura parviflora. 

This species, belonging to the Evening Primrose family, was sent to the Depart- 
ment from Boise, Idaho, as a liber plant. The stalks were examined, but the fiber 
layer was found to be too thin to make the plant of any value whatever as a textile. 
Stalks of the Evening Primrose have been received from other inquiring corre- 
spondents. It is therefore included in this list. 

Gayumba (Span.). See Spartium junccum. 
Gebang palm (Java). Gorypha gebanga. 
Gelso reale (It.). Horns alba. 
Genet d'Espagne (Fr.). Spartium junceum. 
Genipa americana. Huitoc of Peru. 

This species belongs to the Cinchona family, the tree being found in the American 
tropics. '<■'. americana produces the Genipap fruit, which is about the size of an 
orange, and of agreeable flavor. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 171 

Fiber. — The bark of this tree, known in Peru as the Yaguayagua, or JTuitoc, 
"furnishes a fiber that is used by the Indians for making rough clothing" (Dorca). 

Geonoma baculifera. The Ubim. 

A genus of tropical American palms. The species occurs in British Guiana, where 
it is used as a thatch material. 

Where the Iroolie {Manicaria saccifera) does not grow the small, transparent leaves 
of dealibanni (G. baculifera) afford a thatch which is in one respect still more con- 
Axnient than iroolie. They are gathered and fastened together by their stalks so 
as to hang close together, and with their sides overlapping, from a long lath cut 
from the stem of the Booba palm, Iriartea exorrMza. Such rows of leaves, 10 or 12 
feet long, and 2 or 3 deep, are arranged one above and overlapping each other. 
The advantage is easy removal to tie upon a new framework. (E. F. im Thurn.) 

Specimens of thatch material from an unidentified species of Geonoma are exhib- 
ited in the Kew Mus., used by the Arawak Indians of British Guiana. Orton states 
that G. baculifera is called Ubim in Brazil. G. multijiora, see fig. 57. 

Gesnouinia arborea. 

An herbaceous perennial belonging to the Urticacece. Savorgnan states that G. 
arborea, Teneriffe, yields a fiber similar to that extracted from the ramie plant. I 
find no other reference to the genus as fiber producing. 

Geta netul (Ceyl.). Streblus asper. 

Ghaipat (Ind.). Yucca gloriosa. 

Ghanga (Beng.). Cannabis sativa. 

Ghay-mari, of Liotard. (lucl.). Agave vivipara, 

Ghi-kayar ) (I d } Moe 

Ghirta-kumari ) v ' 

Giant asclepias (Ind.). See Calotropis gigantea. 

Giant nettle (Austr.). See Laportea gig as. 

Gietta and Guyetta. (Arizona.) Hilar ia jamesii. 

Gigantic gum tree (See Eucalyptus obliqua). 

Ginestra. 

A general term used in Italy to designate Spartium junceum, and similar grass-like 

plants. Some of the plants recognized in Italy under this name are : di spagna, 

Spartium junceum; - da granate, S. scoparinm; di bosco, Coronilla emerus. 

Parmo ginestrino is ginestra cloth. 

The employment of the small twigs of the Ginestra for binding up vines and gath- 
ering together bundles of herbs is very ancient, as is attested by Pliny, who writes : 
u Genista quoque vinculi prcestat." The increased use of this plant is indicated, in the 
thirteenth century, by the statement, "From Ginestra can be made tow or wadding 
and oakum which may be used in place of hemp or of flax." (Extract from the Trea- 
tise on Agriculture, Milan, 1805.) The peasants in many places wore cloth woven 
from the fiber of Ginestra. In Maremma from time immemorial they have produced 
fiber from this plant for the manufacture of coarse material. 

Girardinia palmata. The Nilghiri Kettle. 

Syn. Cr. heterophylla and G. zeylanica. 
Exogen. Urticacece. A tall herb, 4 to 6 feet. 
In the Die. Ec. Prod. Ind., Vol. Ill, this important species of nettle is described 
under the name G. lieterophylla, the two forms known as G. palmata and G. zeylanica 



172 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



being regarded as Aarieties. "It abounds in the temperate and subtropical Hima- 
layas, ascending to an altitude of 5,000 feet. It is also met with in Assam, Sylliet, 
and Burma, and extends from Marwar and central India to Travancore and Ceylon. 
The variety palm at a is a native of the Nilghiri hills and Ceylon, while zeylanica is 
confined to the latter locality and parts of the Deccan." (Watt.) 

Bast Fiber. — The above authority states that the fibers from the three forms are 
perfectly distinct in many of their characters, and should therefore be considered 
separately. From the account given in the work cited above the following extracts 
are reproduced: 

G. heterophylla : Stems often employed for making twine and ropes by the dry 
process, but these are not prized and perish quickly from the wet. Yields a fine, 

strong fiber, used for cordage and 








twine, but cannot stand much moisture. 
G. palmata : The true Nilghiri nettle; 
it yields a finer and more valuable fiber 
than the preceding. Royle writes that 
the liber is very long, soft, and silky, 
and has been much admired by many 
of the best judges of fibers. At Dun- 
dee it was thought a very good fiber, 
but rather dry. Mr. Dickson, who lias 
passed it through his machine and solu- 
tion, has rendered it a beautiful, soft, 
silky kind of flax and calls it a wonder- 
ful fiber, of which the tow would be 
useful for mixing with wool as has been 
done with China grass, and the fiber 
used for the finest purposes. In Spon's 
Encyclopedia the Girardinias are 
spoken of collectively under the name 
of G. lieterophylla, but it seems that G. 
palmata alone is meant. The following 
extract may be found useful : "It suc- 
ceeds well by cultivation. The bark 
abounds in fine, white, glossy, strong 
fibers which have a rougher surface 
than those of Boehmeria nivea, and are 
therefore more easily combined with 
wool in mixed fabrics." Owing to the 
high percentage of cellulose and the 
small loss from hydrolysis, the fiber is 
chemically one of the best produced in 
India. 

G. zeylanica : Little is known regard- 
ing the fiber of this variety, although it is used in the Konkan and other parts of 
western and southwestern India. It would appear, however, that it is very similar 
to that produced by the true Nilghiri nettle. 

Cultivation. — Like the China grass plant, it can be cut as a perennial and con- 
tinue to throw out fresh shoots and roots for three or four years. The seeds are sown 
in rows 15 inches apart in alluvial soils, and the stalks are cut in July and January. 
It is stated that from the July crop an average of 450 to 500 pounds of fiber may be 
expected, 120 pounds of this being of superior quality. The January crop will yield 
600 to 700 pounds of fiber; but the fiber of this crop is uniform, but of coarse quality, 
owing to the shoots being matured by the setting in of the dry season in December. 

Ginger grass (see Andropogon scha nanthus). 



1 

Fig. 57. — The TJbimrAna, Qeonoma mulUflora. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 173 

Gleichenia glauca. 

A genus of polypodiaceous ferns found in the Tropics of Loth hemispheres and 
extending to Chile and the Australasian region. The species named is found in the 
East. The Kew Mus. exhibits a Malay hat made from the iibrous bundles of the 
plant. 

Gnetum spp. 

These are trees or creeping shrubs found in tropical Asia and in Guiana. G. gnemon, 
found in the Isles of Sunda, New Guinea, the Philippines, etc., yields a fiber, derived 
from its bark, used for cordage and textures of coarse quality. G. scandens is an 
India species, the stems of which are employed by the natives of the Andaman Islands 
for the manufacture of fishing nets. The outer covering of the seeds of G-. urens is 
lined with stinging hairs. 

God-tree (Mex.). See Bombax ceiba. 

Gomphocarpus physocarpus. Quomotanetu, of Natal. 

Exogen. Asclejnadacew. A shrub. 

The species of this genus are chiefly confined to southern and northeastern Africa 
and Arabia. G. physocarpus is found in Natal. 

Fiber.— Produced from the bark. J. Medley Wood, curator of the Natal Botanic 
Gardens, gives an interesting account of the fiber in tne Annual Report of the Durban 
Botanic Society for 1888 (p. 13). Samples of the fiber were received in the year named 
from Zululand, and from Durban, which were sent to England for report as to their 
merits and value. The fiber was described as very good as to color and strength, 
and if it could be produced in large quantities and be carefully cleaned, it would 
bring £25 per ton c. i. f., London. 

"The peculiarity of this hemp is its exceptional strength, and no doubt if it could 
be produced in large enough quantities and the length increased, it would sell 
quickly and equally well with manila hemp, the present price for which is, say, £33 
to £34 per ton." 

Samples sent to Dr. Morris, Kew, were submitted to Messrs. Ide & Christie, the 
London fiber brokers, who reported adversely on the fiber on account of its bad prepa- 
ration. Its value was estimated at £15 per ton, but it was thought that properly 
cleansed its value would be enhanced 75 or 100 per cent. 

Gomphocarpus brasiliensis. 

This Brazilian species is noted, in Lofgren's paper, as found on the plants of Sao 
Paulo called Paina de scda. Its seed hairs are used as upholstery material. The 
plant is cultivated and blooms in the winter months. 

Gomuti fiber (Malacca). See Arenga sacchaHfera. 
Goni. Sanskrit name of Sansevieria roxburghiana 
Gonolobus maritimus. 

Syn. Ibatia mnricata. 
An asclepiadaceous climber of Venezuela, " which yields a milky juice said to be a 
good pectoral. The seed hairs are brittle and can not be spun." (Dr. Ernst). The 
fiber was exhibited in the Venezuela court, W. C. E., 1893, under the name Silk 
Wool of Orozuz. It is a silk cotton, or surface fiber. 

Goo-mao-mah (Austr.). See Laportea 
Gorakha-amla (Bomb.). Adansonia. 



174 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



G-ossypium spp. Cotton. 

Exogens. Malvaceae. Tall herbs and shrubs. 

Common- and native names.— Hopi (moqui), Indian name, Pucii; Algodon (Span.) ; 
Ychcaxihitvitl (Ync, or ancient Mex.); Favai (Tahiti); Coton (Fr.); Cotone 
(It.); Baumwolle (Ger.); Pembeh or Poombeh (Pers.); Gain, Kotan, or JO>/» 
(Arab.); taw/ Saung (Cochin China); Jfoa mein (China): Watta ik or Walla 
noli (Jap.); Tonfai (Siam); Nurma (Hind.); Deo Kurpas and Deo Kapas, God's 
cotton (Mysore and Bomb.) ; Nu-wa (Bnrni.) ; Kohung (Mong. ), and many others. 
Habitat and SPECIES.— The origin of the cotton plant is a question not easily set- 
tled, as cotton has been grown in many countries from an exceedingly remote period. 
It is probable that a plant numbering so many species is indigenous in different 
localities, though Rhind states that it may possibly have come from Persia originally, 
then crossed into Egypt, thence to Asia Minor and the Indian Archipelago. M. Ber- 
nard in. curator of the Industrial Museum of Ghent, in his " X" omenclature Uselle de 
Fibres Textiles/"' gives the origin of the several species named, crediting at least two 

fco North America, CI. 
harbadense from the 
West Indies, and (',. 
hirsutum from Mexico. 
G. herbaceum he re- 
gards as originally an 
East Indian species. 
So much has been 
written upon this 
subject and authori- 
ties differ so widely 
that great confusion 
has resulted To add 
to the complication, 
cotton has been cul- 
tivated in portions of 
the earth from remote 
ages, and in many 
countries for cen- 
turies — for a period 
of over 3,000 years in 
India — for we read 
that when Egypt was 

in the zenith of her glory the delicate cotton tissues of India were famous, and Egypt 
at that time had a cotton industry of her own. On our continent the Aztecs of Mex- 
ico and the Incasof Peru ages and ages ago spun and wove cotton, and the Hopi Indians 
of Arizona, preserving a tradition and the requirements of a custom that has come 
down from remote times, will only use in their religious ceremonials strings or cords 
made from native-grown cotton, twisted by the officiating priests. Regarding the 
countries where cotton is cultivated, see statements on the distribution of cultiva- 
tion, page 178. 

In a recent Avork on the cotton plant, Bulletin No. 33, prepared by the Office of 
Experiment Stations of the United States Department of Agriculture, the history, 
botany, culture, chemistry, and uses of this plant are treated almost, exhaustively. 
From the chapter on the botanical consideration of the subject, prepared by Dr. 
Walter II. Evans, the statements regarding the different species of cotton, which 
follow, have been condensed: On account of their great variability the species of 
Go88ypium are difficult of limitation, and various attempts have been made to 
classify them. Linnaeus described atleasl 3 species, and since that time the num- 
ber of species and synonyms has increased enormously. Two monographs of the 
genus have been published by Italian botanists, ih" first by Filippo Parlatore in 




Blossom and boll of the cotton plant. Gossypium. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



175 



1866, in which the author recognized 7 species, with 8 others in doubt. The other 
monograph was by Agostino Todaro, published in 1877, in which are described 52 
species, with 2 as uncertain. Hamilton sought to avoid confusion by dividing the 
genus into 3 species, the white seeded, black seeded, and yellow linted, to which 
he gave the names album, nigrum, and croceum. A recent publication, Index Kew- 
ensis, recognizes 42 species, of which but a very few are of economic importance, 
and mentions 88 others that have been reduced to synonyms, most of them being 
synonyms of species in common cultivation. The great variability and the tendency 
to hybridize makeit difficult to determine to which species a given plant may belong. 
No cultivated plant responds so quickly to ameliorated conditions of soil, climate, 
and cultivation as the cotton plant, and to this fact is due much of the confusion as 




Fig. 59.— Sea Island cotton. 

to species and varieties. Another factor entering into the confusion is the imper- 
fectly known types that have been described as species. It has been stated that 
some of the species now widely cultivated are wholly unknown in a wild state, and 
some of the specimens described by Linnreus were in all probability from plants 
that had long been in cultivation. The work of establishing the origin of the cul- 
tivated species has been still further complicated by the exchange of seed from coun- 
try to country that has been going on for at least four centuries. 

Among the species recognized to be of more or less economic importance are G-. 
arboreum, G-. neglectum, G-. brasiliense, G. herbaeeum, G.barbaclense, and perhaps a few 
others. In this country only the herbaceous cottons are cultivated to any extent. 
The shrubby and arboreous are grown occasionally as curiosities, but they seldom 



176 USEFUL FIBEE PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

or never produce any lint in regions having as low a mean temperature as the cotton 
belt of the United States. 

The determination of the species of cotton grown in this country presents some 
peculiar difficulties. The authorities differ widely regarding the specific origin of 
the short-staple or upland cotton, while more nearly agreeing on that of the sea- 
island cotton. The latter is generally considered as having originated from G. 
barbadense. Species which have been considered synonyms of G. barbadense are G.fru- 
tescens Lasteyr., G.fuscum Boxb., G.glabrumljam., G.jamaicensi Macfad., G.jaranicum 
Blume, G. maritimum Todaro, G. nigrum Hamilton. G. oligospermum Macfad., G.perenne 
Blanco, G. peruvianum Cav.. G. punctatum Schum. and Thonn., G. racemosum Poir.. G. 
religiosum Parlatore, G. vitifolium Lam., and perhaps others. 

This species is indigenous to the Lesser Antilles and probablyto San Salvador, the 
Bahamas, Barbados, Gua'daloupe, and other islands between 12 c and 26° north lati- 
tude. Bycultivation.it has been extended throughout the West Indies, the mari- 
time coast of the Southern States. Central America. Puerto Pico, Jamaica, etc., 
southern Spain, Algeria, the islands and coast of western tropical Africa. Egypt, 
Island of Bourbon, East Indies, Queensland, New South Wales, etc. It may be cul- 
tivated in any region having a hot and humid atmosphere, but the results <>t' acclima- 
tization indicate that the humid atmosphere is hot entirely necessary if irrigation 
he employed, as this species is undoubtedly grown extensively in Egypt. As a rule, 
thequality of the staple improves with the proximity to the sea. but there are excep- 
tions to this rule, as that grown on Jamaica and some oilier islands is of rather low 
grade, while the best fiber is produced along the shores of Georgia and South Carolina. 

The yield of lint from Sea Island cotton is less than from any other hind grown in 
this country, bnt on account of the length and (quality of the fiber it is adapted to 
uses to which the other kinds are not suited, and its high market value compensates 
for the small yield. 

G. herbaceum : While scarcely any of the authors agree in the more important 
points when discussing the origin of upland cotton, the weight of opinion seems to 
be that the species is either G. herbaceum or G. hirsutum, which are considered 
synonymous, and the former name is employed to designate the species, which 
includes in its synonyms the following: G. album Hamilton, G. chinense Fisch. & 
Otto, G. croceum Hamilton, G. eglandulpsum Cav., G. el at urn Salisb., G. glandulosum 
Steud., G. hirsutum Linn., G. indicum~Lam., G. latifoliumMuTT., G. leoninvm Medic, 
G. macedonicum Murr., G. micranlhum Cav., G, molle Mauri, G. nanking Meyen, G. 
obtusi folium Eoxb., G. paniculatum Blanco, G. punctatum Guil. & Perr , G. religiosum 
Linn., G. siamense Tenore, C. sinense Fisch., G. strictum Medic. G. tricuspidatumljam., 
and G. vitifolium Eoxb., together with numerous others the descriptions of which 
are too indefinite or the specimens too meager to determine them positively. 

The origin of this series is much more confused than that of the sea-island cotton. 
If we should separate the upland cotton into two species, viz, G. herbaceum and G. 
hirsutum, probably the question would be simplified, as the former is generally con- 
sidered of Asiatic origin, while the other is attributed to America. Todaro (Eel. sulla 
coltnra dei cotoni in Italia, 1877-78, p. 212) claims that the form called by him G. 
hirsutum originated in Mexico, whence it has been spread by cultivators throughout 
the warmer portions of the world. 

To this form he ascribes the Georgia upland cotton or the long staple upland cot- 
ton. Parlatore (Le specie dei cotoni. p. 43) considers it indigenous to some of the 
islands of the Gulf of Mexico as well as the mainland, and all green-seeded cotton. 
which is cultivated so widely, as originating from this form. On the other hand, he 
claims India, especially the shores of Coromandel, as the primitive home of G. her- 
baceum, from which place it has spread as extensively as its western congener, and 
is found in cultivation in nearly the same regions. Todaro says that G. herbaceum 
is spontaneous in Asia and perhaps also in Egypt, and he claims G. icightianum as the 
primitive form of the Indian cottons. Maxwell T. .Masters claim- G. stocksii as the 
original of all cultivated forms grouped under G. herbaceum. others consider (r. 
herbact um .\< a uati \ e of Africa, and i r seems impossible from the mass of conflicting 
evidence to determine just where it did originate. It seems probable that G. lurlm- 
cexnn is not a definite species, but one developed by cultivation from, perhaps, sev- 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



177 



eral wild species, and it represents not a species but a group of hybrids and forms 
more or less closely related. The cottons called "nankeen" are only color variations 
of the above, and may be found in nearly every species that is cultivated. Author- 
ities agree that in all probability the yellow lint is the wild form of all cottons, and 
this character can not be used to designate species. 

G. arboreum Linn, is a shrubby perennial, but in cultivation sometimes annual or 
biennial; fiber, two forms; one white, long, overlying a dark-green or black down; 
not readily separable from the seed. This species of cotton appears to be indigenous 
to India and the regions bordering on the Indian Ocean. According to Watt it is 
found near temples and in gardens, where it is said to be in flower most of the. year. 
The plant is a perennial, lasting for five or six years or longer, and is not used as a 
field crop. The fiber is fine, silky, and an inch or more in length, but little of it is 
produced. The cultural name given it is Nuriua or Deo cotton, and its use is said to 




Fig. 60.— Upland cotton. 

be restricted to making thread for the turbans of the priestly class. Its value is 
said to be greatly overrated. This species is sometimes known as G. religiosum. 

G. neglectum Tod.: This species, indigenous to India, is very similar to G. arbo- 
reum, and by some is thought to be a hybrid between that species and some other, or 
it may be only a cultural form of the first. It is a large bush, although sometimes 
only 18 inches in height, and is extensively grown in India as a field crop. It is the 
Dacca cotton of Royle and Roxburgh and the China cotton of the same authors. 
This species is cultivated in Bengal, the Punjab, and the Northwest Provinces, and 
it constitutes to a large extent the Bengal cotton of commerce. Toelaro has sepa- 
rated from the species two varieties — roxburghianum and chinense — corresponding to 
the Dacca and China cottons above mentioned. It is A T ery probable that both the 
varieties and the species are not well founded, but are cultural forms. There is 
another Indian species, G. wightianum Tod., that is claimed to be the form chiefly 
12247— No. 9 -12 



178 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

cultivated in India. It greatly resembles the G. herbaceum of India. but differs from 
that species in that the latter has broader and more rounded leaves, and broader, 
thinner, and deeper-cut bracteoles. This species is said to readily hybridize with 
G. negJectum, and numerous species have been founded upon these cultural forms. 
Among these hybrids are some of the most valuable of Indian cottons. The typical 
forms of the foregoing species of cotton have their seed free from each other, but 
there is another group in which the seeds of each cell are closely adherent in an oval 
mass, from which appearance they are called '"kidney" cottons. Most, if not all. of 
these species are tropical, and their presence in this country as anything more than 
curiosities is highly improbable. The most important of them is G. brasiliense 
Mac fad., and in addition to the fact of the seed adhering in clusters the species is an 
absorbent plant with very large, 5 to 7 divaricate-lobed haves and very deeply 
laciniate involucral bracts. The cottons of South America, known to the trade as 
Pernambuco, Ceara, Santos, etc., are evidently not of this species, but belong to the 
(r. Varbadense and G. herbaceum series. 

For the botanical descriptions of the several species, which have been omitted 
here, the student is referred to Dr. "Walter H. Evan's complete account in The Cotton 
Plant, previously mentioned, page 67. 

SURFACE Fiber. — The lint or fiber of cotton is the seed hairs which are found in the 
fruit or boll of the plant after maturity. The value of the lint depends upon the 
length of these seed hairs, and this is known in commercial parlance as the '•' staple.'' 
Naturally, the "short staples" are less valuable than the "long staples." Upland 
cotton is an example of the former: sea-island cotton of the latter. Seen longitudi- 
nally, the fibers of cotton appear quite independent of each other: they are flat and 
always more or less twisted, like a corkscrew. This last feature is quite character- 
istic. The length of the fibers varies from 1 to 14- inches for long-stapled, and from 
£ to £ inch for short-stapled. (See fig. 4, page 27, Introduction.) 

The world's cultivation. — Cotton in its several species and many varieties is a 
product which belongs to all intertropical countries, for the plant has been so widely 
distributed and has been in cultivation so long a time that in many of these coun- 
tries it is considered indigenous. Spon gives the geographical parallels between 
which cotton is usually cultivated as stretching in A-arying girdles between 36- north 
latitude and 36° south latitude, though Dr. Evans places the parallels at 40 c or more 
on either side of the equator, or to the isothermal line of 60° F. In this country, 
latitude 37° north about represents the limit of economic growth. The production 
of the world's cotton has been distributed in the following countries: 

The American Continent. — In the United States the upland-cotton belt extends from 
southeast Virginia to Texas, and its distribution is mainly between the tide-water 
district and the foothills of the Appalachian Mountain system. The deep alluvial 
soils of the Mississippi Valley favor extension of cotton growing much farther north- 
ward, from the sugar district of southern Louisiana to the southern border of Mis- 
souri, including most of Arkansas and western Tennessee, while the higher elevation 
of central and eastern Tennessee limits culture and diverts sharply the line of limita- 
tion around the foothills of northwestern Georgia. Fifty years ago Mississippi, near 
the western border of cultivation, had surpassed other States and produced nearly 
a fourth of the product; now Texas, on the extreme west, yields one-third of a crop 
doubled in volume. Except a very limited area in Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, and 
Oklahoma, cultivation is mainly conlined to suitable and comparatively limited dis- 
tricts in North and South Carolina. Georgia, Florida, Alabama. Mississippi, Tennes- 
see, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. 

Mexico, prior to the conquest by Cortez, produced annually 116,000,000 pounds, 
but the culture was abandoned in many sections under Spanish rule. In i860 the 
industry received a stimulus on account of the war of the rebellion; since 1882 the 
culture has been still further extended, until, in 1805, the output was 25,000,000 
pounds. The State of Coahuila produces the larger portion of the cotton of Mexico. 
The best cotton, however, is grown in the state of Guerrero, around Acapulco, and 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 179 

the most inferior in Chiapas. The three cotton sections of this country are the east 
.and west coasts and in the central plateau, in the latter irrigation being necessary. 
Mexico is a purchaser of cotton from the United States. 

A little cotton, perhaps 1,000 hales, is grown in the West Indies, whence at the 
beginning of the present century 25,000 hales were exported, chiefly to this country. 
The cotton produced was the sea island, known also as Anguilla, claimed to he 
indigenous in Honduras. In 1874 the island of Puerto Rico produced 254,000 pounds, 
hut the culture has declined. 

Several of the South American countries cultivate considerable quanties of cotton. 
In Brazil it grows in nearly every province. R. B. Handy states that while it may 
be grown in almost unlimited quantities from Sao Paulo all along the coast to the 
Amazon, and for that matter throughout the whole Empire, in reality, however, its 
cultivation to a considerable extent is limited to the drier regions of the north, 
along the valley of the River Sao Francisco and in parts of the province of Minas 
Geraes. In the more southern provinces the amount of cotton grown for export is 
at r>resent insignificant. Brazil exports about 60,000,000 pounds, chiefly to England. 
Ecuador is a small producer of cotton, and Dutch Guiana also produces a little, 
though early in the p resent century the cotton export in a single year amounted to 
over 3,000,000 pounds. Peru produces a peculiar native variety of "tree cotton," 
with a strong, rough, crinkly staple usually If to 1£ inches long, known as " vegeta- 
ble wool " and used by manufacturers for mixing with wool, and difficult to detect 
except by chemical tests. For this reason the woolgrowers, in a new wool tariff 
bill, have asked for a customs duty of 15 cents per pound on it. It is a varying 
product estimated at a minimum of 10,000 to a maximum of 50,000 bales of 180 
pounds. In 1885 our imports were only 14 bales; 9,500 bales in 1890; 12,500 in 1891. 

Europe. — Spon says: Of European countries Italy alone seems to possess the con- 
ditions requisite for successful cotton culture. The present centers are around Bari 
and Barletta, on the Adriatic; in the neighborhood of Salerno, Saron, and Castella- 
mare, south of Naples, and in the provinces of Caltanissetta and Girgenti, on the 
south shores of Sicily. The products are known respectively as "Pugliar," "Cas- 
tellarnare," "Biancavilla," and "Terranova." Sardinia also grows a little. 

The cotton of the Levant, Greece and Turkey and their provinces, amounts to not 
more than 8,000,000 pounds annually, 75 per cent of which is shipped to England and 
other parts of Europe. Cyprus grows in ordinary years 1,000,000 pounds, a small 
part of what might be produced, as the island is adapted to the culture. 

Asia. — British India, or Hindostan, the part of India where cotton is raised, em- 
braces four principal cotton regions : The Valley of the Ganges, the Deccan, western 
India, and southern India. The Ganges Valley is again divisible into two parts, the 
lower Bengal district and that of the Northwest Provinces, including Doab and 
Bundelcund, lying on both sides of the Ganges and Jumna rivers. In lower Bengal 
the cultivation of cotton is not of very great importance. In the plains of Bengal, 
which are so fertile in other produce, the production of cotton is very inconsiderable, 
and none is exported. The cotton raised here in former times, though short in staple, 
was the finest known in the world and formed the material out of which the very 
delicate and extremely beautiful Dacca muslin was manufactured. The border lands 
of the Ganges are too low and marshy and the rainfall too great for the successful 
cultivation of cotton, but the hills back from the river are suitable for this purpose, 
as they are better drained. The Doab and Bundelcund districts produce almost the 
entire crop of the Northwest Provinces, and furnish about 70,000,000 pounds of cotton 
for exportation, which is a good "India cotton." The climatic character of these 
districts is "first a flood and then a drought," with an inclination to an insufficiency 
of rain, in great contrast to that of lower Bengal. (B. B. Handy.) 

The Deccan, or central India, is the great cotton section of India. It occupies the 
triangular area lying south of the Vindhyan Mountains, in latitude 23° north, and 
extends to the valley of the Kistna, at 16° north, with the Eastern and Western 
Ghauts on either side. It is an elevated table-land of undulating surface, having 



180 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

soil of great excellence and richness, and of a consistency to retain moisture for a 
long time. Nearly all the cotton for export is raised within this region and finds its 
market at Bombay. India, next to the United States, has been the largest producer 
of cotton. (7.'. B. Handy.) During the period of civil war in the United States 
extraordinary efforts were made to extend cultivation, but with so little success that 
American cotton attained the extreme price of $1 per pound, which fell rapidly as the 
breadth of cultivation was restored. It is not equal to our cotton in length or qual- 
ity of staple, and always sells at a lower price. Seed from the United States has been 
used repeatedly, but deterioration from climatic influences prevents retaining per- 
manently the standard of quality. The crop of 1895-96 is reported at 3,296,040 bales. 
In the previous year it was 2,088,546, and the average for five years has been about 
3,000,000 bales, averaging about 400 pounds, or equivalent to 2,400,000 bales of our 
cotton. It is therefore between a third a nd a fourth of the quantity of our crop. 

The Russian cotton is grown in Asiatic territory, in Turkestan and Transcaucasia. 
In 1890, 245,000 acres of cotton were planted in Turkestan, yielding more than 45,000,- 
000 pounds of clean lint. American seed and American gins have been introduced 
into the country, the variety of cotton known as Ozier silk being highly regarded. 

Turkish cottons are A'ery low grade. The country around Smyrna produces the 
best, however. Other districts Avhere grown, and which give name to the market 
varieties, are: Cassaba, Aidin, Denizili, Kirgagatch, and Danider. The Adana cot- 
ton comes from Tarsus. Cotton has been grown in Syria for ages, and a considerable 
quantity is produced about Erivan and the frontier of Persia. 

Chinese cotton is largely produced in a region lying along and on both sides of the 
river Yang-tze-Kiang, where the soil is very fertile. In Korea it is grown chiefly in 
the provinces of Whang-Hai, Chul-La, and Kyng-Tanj, though to some extent in 
other localities. China and Korea, as far as can be estimated, produce at the present 
time 640,000,000 pounds of cotton. The production of Japan amounted in 1891 to 
109,879,383 pounds, and the quality of the cotton was good, though the staple was 
short. In the East Indies, Java, Siam, etc., the plant is cultivated and there is a 
small export. 

Africa. — Of African cottons the Egyptian is the most prominent. It has been 
grown on lands irrigated by the Nile since 1820, and in the upper regions of that 
river from time immemorial. There are several varieties, most of them yielding 
fiber of a brownish tint, 1 to 1^ inches long, strong and fine, more lustrous than our 
upland and commanding a higher price, but not so long or fine or valuable as the 
sea-island. Ellison (the Liverpool authority) gives 680,C00 bales as the export to 
Europe and America during the last year, with a surplus still available of 33,000, 
or a total supply of 713,000 bales, equivalent to more than 1,000,000 bales of United 
States cotton. Nearly all of the Egyptian product is exported. A large increase in 
production has been made in the past six years, the average exports of the period 
being more than 50 per cent in excess of those of the preceding ten years. 

In other portions of Africa, both on the east and west coasts, as Senegambia. Libe- 
ria, the Congo States, the Soudan, etc., a considerable amount of this staple is pro- 
duced, the greater part of which is consumed a*t home. 

In Australia cotton culture has been attempted, and while a little fiber is grown 
it can hardly be called a promising industry. Very small quantities are also pro- 
duced in many of the islands of the Pacific, and in some of them the product shows 
a good staple. The Fiji and Tahiti cottons are exported. 

Cottox industry OF the Exited States. 1 — Soon after the invention of Eli Whit- 
ney's saw gin in 1793 the United States became the principal source of cotton supply 
for the mills of the world, at a period when spinning machinery was a recent inven- 
tion and the modern factory system was in its infancy. In 1860, four-fifths of the 
consumption in Europe and America was of the cotton of this country. Production 
was nearly suspended during the years of civil Avar following, but in a year or two 

1 Contributed by J. R. Dodge. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 181 

after its close the proportion of the supply again exceeded one-half, "became two- 
thirds in five years, and by 1880 nearly regained the ante war proportion. 

The only reason for this prominence which needs to be adduced is the advantage 
of climate in the production of the distinctive type of cotton of the United States, 
the varieties of green-seed upland. Our cotton belt has the sunshine of Italy and a 
rainfall largely in excess of the national average; and cotton is a sun plant, fond of 
water, with a taproot to get it by piercing tbe friable and finely comminuted soil so 
characteristic of its areas of densest distribution. Hence any cotton suited to preva- 
lent climatic conditions naturally improves under cultivation. Unlike Egypt and 
India, this fertile belt needs no irrigation. This climatic adaptation and soil suita- 
bility give a practical monopoly which cheap labor elsewhere may never hope to 
overcome; at least, not until some now unexplored and untested part of the earth's 
surface shall be discovered and exploited in successful cotton culture. 

The enlargement of production has been phenomenally rapid. In the last decade 
of the eighteenth century it advanced from less than 10,000 bales to more than 
150,000; in tbe first decade of the present century it had reached 300,000, and in the 
second 600,000, while in a third the record of 1,000,000 was one year made, and at the 
end of the fourth the 2,000,000 mark was passed. At this point Southern publicists 
discovered that planters had been guilty of "overstocking the market," when the 
annual Liverpool average price of middling for 1845 was reduced to 3.92d. per pound, 
the lowest yearly record ever made before, or ever made since until the great crop of 
nearly 10,000,000 bales in 1891 reduced the average to 3.34d. The mid-century reduc- 
tion, like the recent fall, was the result of production quite beyond consumption, 
four of six successive crops having exceeded 2,000,000 bales, an increase of 50 per cent 
over the preceding period of six years. Thus 2,000,000 bales per annum caused 
plethora, while 8,000,000 does not now meet the requirements of consumption. 

This fact suggests the remarkable increase in mill consumption in half a century, 
in Europe and the United States, from less than 3,000,000 bales to more than 10,000,- 
000. It is also suggestive of possibility of further enlargement, as facilities for 
transportation and intercommunication bring cheap clothing within the reach of 
unclothed millions of populations developing under the influences of modern civili- 
zation. This is a hopeful indication for the future of cotton growing. But produc- 
tion must not materially exceed consumption, or instant fall in price will sound a 
note of warning against deliberate self-destruction. As a striking example of quick 
response of price to diminished supply, in 1895 a crop reduction of one-fourth advanced 
the export price 40 per cent, or from 5.8 to 8.2 cents. 

A complete census of the area cultivated was never taken until 1879, when it 
amounted to 14,175,270 acres. In 1889 it had reached 20,175,270. In 1894 its largest 
breadth was attained, nearly 24,000,000 acres, which so reduced the price that a con- 
certed and heavy reduction was made. The extension of cultivation was continuous 
up to 1860, when the breadth must have been nearly 12,000,000 acres. It was at least 
ten years after the close of the war and resumption of cultivation that the area of 
1860 was restored. Increase in twenty years past has been very rapid. 

Two-thirds of the product is exported; formerly a somewhat larger proportion. 
Increase of manufacture in the United States has more than kept pace with the 
active progress of production. The exports of the last two fiscal years were 11,625,123 
bales, or 68 per cent of the crop movement of two years of 17,055,239 bales, though 
fiscal and crop years are not quite coincident in time. The largest exports ever 
made were in the year ended June 30, 1895, which were 6,965,358 bales, of which 
3,502,067 went to Great Britain, 1,500,362 to Germany, 778,778 to France, 985,558 to 
other European countries, 105,040 to British America, 72,177 to Mexico, 280 to South 
America, 21,084 to Asia and Oceanica, and 12 to other countries. 

The present relation of our cotton to the factory supply of Europe and America is 
shown by Ellison's computations, which for the present year require 8,853,000 bales 
of our crop of 476 net pounds, 830,000 of East Indian of 400 pounds, 713,000 of 
Egyptian at 741 pounds for British and 714 for Continental receipts, and 330,000 



182 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WOBLD. 

miscellaneous, in all. 10.726.000, or 10.355,000 reduced to bales of 500 net pounds! 
Our proportion is, therefore, 81.5 per cent of the whole. Including India, China, 
Japan, Mexico, and minor consumption elsewhere, it is not so easy to determine 
closely our proportion of the cotton annually used in the world, as there are no very 
accurate statistics of consumption in China and some other countries, hut according 
to accepted estimates it usually ranges from 55 to 60 per cent of it. 

Our cotton is of two types. The sea-island, or black-seed, cotton, confined to 
islands and shores of South Carolina and Georgia, to Florida, and t6 an extremely 
limited distribution along the Gulf coast, rarely produces more than 60,000 bales. 
It has the longest and finest staple and commands the highest price of any commer- 
cial cotton. More than 99 per cent of our crop, however, is known as American 
upland, having a green seed to which the filaments closely adhere, with a longer 
staple and better quality than the East Indian and most other growths, varying 
somewhat by selection and soil cultivation. It is only surpassed in length of staple 
and x>rice Ly the Egyptian, which, in these respects, comes between the American 
upland and sea island. It is imported and used by our manufacturers for specific 
styles of goods, in increasing quantities; in the fiscal year 1896 a total of 43,609,625 
pounds, valued at $5,131,967. If Egyptian would thrive here, a limited production. 
would be desirable, but its attempted culture has not hitherto been attended with 
very gratifying success. 

Cotton is grown in several countries of North and South America. Asia, and Africa, 
and the produce of each has its peculiar characteristics and uses, yet this country, 
with only one-twentieth of the world's population, produces of a superior quality 
of cotton more than all other countries together. This could not be the case, in this 
era of sharj) competition by cotton manufacturing countries of great wealth and 
enterprise, were not our advantages for production superior to those of any other 
country. It is obviously, then, our opportunity and duty to sapply liberally the 
needs of the world's cousumption, without impairment of the legitimate profits of 
our cotton growers by unnecessary overproduction. 

Cultivation. — Climatic conditions generally favorable to the production of cotton 
are found south of a line which crosses the country a little below latitude 37- . North 
of this line the short season and relatively low mean temperature are unfavorable; 
also the mountain region, altitudes above 1,000 feet, south of this line. 

The essential features of a climate adapted to this culture are that the season must 
be sufficiently long for the crop to mature. One of the most important factors is the 
probable date of the last hilling frost in the spring and the earliest frost in the 
autumn, for the first killing frost of autumn checks the active growth of the plant 
and the bolls starting at this time will not develop into mature fruit. The next 
important consideration is the amount and distribution of heat and rainfall. By the 
first or middle of August the plant should have attained its full Aegetative growth, 
and from this time on a decreasing temperature between day and night are favorable 
to the production of a maximum crop, by checking vegetative growth and inducing 
the maturity of the bolls. During the earlier period the rain should fall in frequent 
showers rather than in heavy storms, and the best seasons are when these showers 
occur at night, giving, with a large and well-distributed rainfall, a large amount of 
sunshine. As to the soil selection, cotton is at present' cultivated with more or le>s 
success on nearly all kinds of soils within the region in which the climatic condi- 
tions are favorable to its growth and development. It is grown alike on light sandy 
soils, on loams, on heavy clay soils, and on bottom lands, but not with equal su 
on all these different types of soil. On the sandy uplands the yield of cotton is usu- 
ally very small; on clay uplands, especially in wet seasons, the plants attain ] 
size, but yield a small amount of lint in proportion to the size of the plants. Tl. 
also likely to be the case on bottom lands. The safest soils for the crop are medium 
grades of loam. On the bottom lands in very favorable seasons the crop often pro- 
duces a very large yield, but it is not so certain, and in dnfavorable seasons the plants 
are liable to disease and to insect ravages. (Pro/. Milton Whitney.) 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 183 

Formerly little attention was paid to the matter of fertilizers, though the manurial 
value of soiling crops, such as clover and peas, of fallowing and rotation, was well 
understood. "In the main," says Prof. H. C. White, "the great hulk of the cotton 
crop previous to 1860 may he said to have heen grown without artiiicial fertilization 
and mainly upon virgin soils." In the limits of this brief chapter it will he impos- 
sible to make a comprehensive statement upon so vast a subject, or to make any 
statements further than that the necessity not only of using the best fertilizers, but 
of a knowledge of the chemistry of soil fertility, is now thoroughly appreciated. 
Among the fertilizers employed, in various combinations, are Peruvian guano, dis- 
solved bones, land plaster, kainit, acid phosphate, the phosphate rocks, barnyard 
manures, the many forms of cotton-seed fertilizer, as rotted seed, meal hulls, ash, 
etc., and others. Those interested in the subject should consult the valuable litera- 
ture published by the Department of Agriculture, and especially Professor White's 
comprehensive statements on the manuring of cotton in The Cotton Plant, to which 
reference has already been made. 

Deep plowing and subsoiling have generally been considered essential in this cul- 
ture. David Dickson, a successful Georgia grower, says that to stand a two weeks' 
drought, a cotton plant must have 4 inches depth of soil, 6 inches depth of subsoil, 
well broken, and for every additional week an inch more of soil with the same sub- 
soiling. Spon says: In India, the limit as to the depth of plowing is commonly 
about 6 inches; in America, 12 inches, and in Guiana, 18 inches. It is certain that 
great benefit would arise from stirring the soil to a depth of even 30 inches, the 
increased penetration of the roots rendering the plant much more independent of 
drought, and other external influences. "Subsoiling and deep breaking are open 
to question. There is no question that a deep, mellow soil is to be preferred, but the 
efforts to obtain it are limited by the cost, by the risk of injury to some soils through 
leaching, and to others by bringing sterile earth to the surface. Sandy soils may 
suffer in the first way, and heavy clays in the second. Experiments to determine 
the value of these operations are conflicting and inconclusive." {Harry Hammond.) 

The same difference of practice and opinion prevails regarding the time of prepar- 
ing the land. It commences in November aud continues to March and April, though 
Mr. Dickson says "the land should be broken as near the time for planting as prac- 
ticable." After plowing and harrowing, the universal practice is to throw the land 
into beds or ridges. The plants are usually left 2 to 3 inches above the middle of 
the row, which in 4-foot rows gives a slope of an inch to the foot. This causes the 
plow. in cultivating to lean from the plants, to go deepest in the middle of the row, 
and, as a consequence, to cut fewer roots. Four feet is the usually accepted distance 
between the rows. The perfect cotton planter is not yet invented. It should drop 
five or six seed in a single line at regular intervals, say a foot apart. In very dry 
seasons a narrow and deep coulter furrow, the dirt closing in behind it, is run imme- 
diately in advance of the planter. It freshens up the bed and assists very much the 
germination of the seed. (Harry Hammond.) 

The once universal system of planting by hand, though still in vogue on areas of 
scattered distribution, has been displaced by some form of cotton-seed planter in the 
great centers of cultivation. Intelligent and enterprising cultivators are not willing 
to depend on antiquated methods. Formerly, after ridging and opening a shallow fur- 
row, seed was scattered in it profusely, partly to secure a stand and partly as fertil- 
izer for the young plants, the superfluous plants to be chopped out with a hoe to any 
required distance apart. This method requires a large amount of seed. Another 
plan in great favor was the marking by wheel or other device for measurement, for 
such cavities made by a dibble may seem popular with those who deem precision in 
planting essential. So various have been these methods of seeding, combining the 
idea of fertilization with germination, that the quantity of seed required per acre 
has scarcely ever been calculated or considered. The time of planting ranges from 
March 1 in southern Texas, to May 20 in northeast Georgia, and the first blooms 
appear May 15 in southern Texas to July 25 in northwest Tennessee, Several hoeings 



184 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

are necessary to keep clown •weeds, and the plants are thinned until only two of the 
strongest plants remain in the stand. Each hoeing is followed by the plow, which 
throws the earth around the stalk. The particular practice varies greatly, however, 
in different sections, though the same object is always kept in view to keep the soil 
free from weeds and the plants growing. 

The first bolls open June 15 in southern Texas, and September 15 in north Arkansas. 
Picking commences in the two sections July 10 and October 1, respectively, and may 
continue until the middle of December. 

Cotton is picked by hand, notwithstanding that considerable skill and capital have 
been expended in the efforts to produce a machine cotton picker. It can not be said 
that any of these machines have been successful, as they gather limbs, leaves, and 
hulls, necessitating the passing of the whole through a separator. As high as 333 
pounds of cotton have been picked per day by one man, though it is probable that 100 
pounds is nearer the day's work of the average plantation laborer. The picking of 
the crop of 1891 was estimated to have cost $60,000,000. | Harry Hammond.) 

Ginning Cottons. — The devices for separating the lint from the seed are of two 
(lasses. The first class is known as roller gins, the other as saw gins. The roller 
gin is the most ancient. It was used from the earliest times by the Hindoos. In its 
simplest form it consists of a flat stone, on which the seed cotton was placed, and a 
wooden roller, moved by the foot, was employed to press the seed out. To this day 
two small rollers, a foot long, one of wood and the other of iron, geared to move in 
opposite directions and turned by hand, are used in India to separate the seed from 
the fiber. The task is 5 pounds of clean cotton a day, and the Woman who performs 
it receives a daily wage of 5 cents. In Sicily, also, two grooved cylinders, turned 
by hand, are still used to pinch out the seed. In the Amoy district of China cotton 
is said to be cleaned by means of a heavy wooden bow suspended from a bamboo 
frame on the shoulders of the operator, who feeds the cotton along a board with his 
right hand, and with his left strikes it with the string of his bow, cleaning from 50 
to 100 pounds a day, at a wage of 10 cents. The combination of the roller and the bow- 
string beater may be observed in certain of the modern improved roller gins used for 
cleaning the long-staple Sea Island cotton. The seed cotton is fed on a table to a 
leather roller (preferably walrus hide), the roughness of which engages the fiber, 
while a steel plate in close juxtaposition to the roller prevents the passage of the 
seed and a rapidly vibrating blade knocks them out. The cleaned seed fall through 
interstices in the table, and the lint is delivered on the farther side of the roller. 
Only cotton with naked seed has been successfully ginned in this way, the down on 
ordinary upland seed causing them when agitated to adhere to each other and pre- 
vents them from falling through the openings in the table. The construction of the 
roller gin has undoubtedly been greatly improved in recent times, especially as 
regards the ease with which it is worked and the quantity of cotton it cleans ; but it 
is doubtful if the quality of the product is any better than it was in those ancient 
days Avhen the Hindoos extracted with it the delicate fibers with which they made 
the wonderful tissues called the "woven wind." The saw gin, which works on 
another principle, is the machine which, in its improvements and modifications, has 
separated seed from fiber almost exclusively for a hundred years of American cotton 
growing. The seed cotton is held in a box, one side of which is a grate of steel bars 
or ribs. Through the intervals of the grate a number of thin steel disks notched on 
the edge and miscalled saws rotate rapidly. • The notches or teeth of the saws 
engage the liber and pull it from the seed. The seed as they are cleaned fall to the 
floor through a slit below the ribs. Behind the cylinder holding the saws is another 
and a larger cylinder (the brush) filled with bristles in contact with the saws. 
Both cylinders rotate in the same direction. The brush sweeps from the saws the 
fibers they have detached, and the draft created by the rapid revolutions of the two 
cylinders blows the lint out to a distance of 20 to 60 feet from the end of the gin, 
opposite to the one into which the seed cotton is fed. The defects of both methods 
of ginning are much the same. They fail to (dean the lint thoroughly of foreign 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 185 

substances, such as dust, fragments of leaves, etc. Some of the seed, especially the 
immature seed known as motes, pass through with the lint. The fibers may be 
strained, weakened, or even broken, or, what is fully as bad, crimped and knotted 
(termed neps or naps) by improper force used in their removal. From all these 
causes a large amount of waste is always found in ginned cotton. {Harry Hammond.) 

In a paper entitled "Treatise upon the cotton fiber and its improvements/' sub- 
mitted at a meeting of the New England Cotton Manufacturers' Association at Atlanta-, 
Ga., October, 1895, Edward Atkinson, referring to the use of the saw gin, says: "We 
take three-quarters of the life out of our cotton by our murderous method of treating 
it. We nearly wear it out before we begin to weave it." And asks, " Would it not 
be better to nip these libers between two elastic rolls, to draw them away from the 
seed without upsetting, tangling, and cutting them?" He argues at length in favor 
of the more extended cultivation of long-staple varieties, and of more earnest efforts 
to improve the roller gin, using the latter in connection with the recently introduced 
cylinder press. 

Baling. — The standard size of cotton bale in this country is 54 by 27 inches, 
and contains about 500 pounds, inclusive of bagging and ties, or about 475 to 480 
pounds of lint. Formerly weighing 300 pounds, the American bale has grown to 500 
pounds. The Egyptian bale averaged 245 pounds in 1855 and 714 in 1892. In Peru, 
Brazil, and Persia the bales run from 175 to 220 pounds, and in Asiatic Russia from 
250 to 325 pounds. India averages about 400 pounds, and the density of the bale is 
so much greater than the American that it weighs 39 pounds to the cubic foot, while 
compressed cotton in American bales is less than 35 pounds. 

The bales are wrapped in jute bagging, with iron bands, the mere covering of the 
cotton adding 20 to 24 pounds to the weight of the bale. Among the other forms of 
baling, the Dedrich perpetual press, formerly used to some extent, puts up the cotton 
in bales of 100 pounds, and of a density nearly equal to that obtained by the com- 
presses. The Bessonette cylindrical cotton bale is turned out by a self-feeding press, 
which receives the bat of lint as it comes from the condenser upon a spool between 
two heavy rollers. The friction of the rollers rotates the spool and winds the bat 
upon it so tightly as to press out nearly all the air and to form the roll into a pack- 
age with a density of 35 pounds to the cubic foot and of uniform size and shape 
throughout. The pressure employed is only 25,000 pounds to the bale, against 
5,000,000 pounds by the compress. The Bessonette cylindrical bale is of uniform 
length, with a diameter of 14 inches to 16 inches. The bales are covered with cotton 
cloth. The ends are capped with the same material, held in place by a small hoop 
of wire. No ties are used, nor are they necessary, for the bale retains its shape with- 
out them. It is claimed that the saving by the use of this bale in the expense of 
compressing, handling, insurance, transportation, etc., amounts to $4.25 per bale, and 
with the air completely pressed out, it is practically fireproof. See The Cotton 
Plant, United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, 1896. 

Cotton manufacture in the United States. — The manufacture of cotton goods 
in the United States, exclusive of hosiery, knit goods, mixed textiles, cordage and 
twine, required in 1890 2,216,000 bales of cotton, used in 905 establishments, having 
221,585 employees. The value of materials used was $154,912,979, and of products 
$267,981,724. The number of spindles was 14,550,323, an increase of 3,896,888 in ten 
years; nearly three-fourths in the New England States, and over one-tenth in the 
Southern, where the increase has of late been very rapid. 

The percentages of cost of manufacture were: 43.81 for cotton, 14 for other mate- 
rials, 6.24 lor miscellaneous expense, 25.93 for labor, and 10.02 for depreciation and 
profit. The finer grades are mostly made in the New England States, where the 
quantity of cotton used per spindle, indicating degree of fineness, was 65.95 pounds, 
78.46 in the Middle, 147.55 in the Western, and 161.41 in the Southern States. The 
development of all branches of cotton manufacture was active until arrested by 
recent depression, and equal progress may be expected in the future. 



186 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Bast Fiber. — Like all the species of Malvacece, the stalks of the cotton plant con- 
tain in their hark a fine jute-like iiher. This has at different times attracted the 
attention of industrialists, and various attempts have heen made to "bring it into use. 
There is no doubt that if the plants were grown thickly, like hemp, so as to shoot up 
slender and branchless, that a good fiber could be prepared from them. Tin; experi- 
ments, however, have been conducted with_ the old bushy stalks remaining in the 
field after the lint cotton harvest 

i In the collection of fibers sent to the Paris Exposition of 1889 was a fine example 
of the fiber of the cotton stalk, from a plant grown by Gov. J. B. Gordon, of Georgia, 
prepared by the American Consolidated Fiber Company, from a green stalk, sixty 
days from date of planting. In the letter transmitting the specimen it was stated 
that "the fiber is not only good for thread, but for a thousand other purposes; it is 
a splendid fiber for paper also, as it will not tear as easily as that made from wood 
pulp or rags." There is no doubt that this fiber would make an admirable twine, 
though its use in "thread" is somewhat overstated. It possesses fair strength, 
specimens I have examined by hand tests appearing somewhat stronger than jute. 
The fiber of old stalks that have stood in the field is of varying shades of russet 
in color, while that from fresh stalks is a yellow white. 

The antagonism of the farmers of the South to the jute trust, in 1890, called 
renewed attention to unutilized Southern fibers for the manufacture of bagging with 
which to bale the cotton crop, the price of bagging having been advanced from 7 
to 12 cents per yard. Various fibers were suggested as substitutes for the India 
product, and among them the bast of cotton stalks, which, it was claimed, could be 
supplied "from the 18,000,000 acres of cotton fields " in cultivation in the South. 
Among those who experimented with this fiber in manufacture was William E Jack- 
son, of Augusta, Ga., who gave considerable attention to the enterprise, a company 
having been organized to carry on the work. According to the statement made the 
fiber was separated "on a machine which was patented and perfected for South 
American fiber experiments," the name of the inventor not having been given. The 
principle consisted in "running the bast between a corrugated concave bed, the 
charge between being washed by a flowing stream of water to wash away the resi- 
due of gum and bark." 

Nothing was said as to the }>roposed method of harvesting the stalks, further than 
that fiber shown was taken from stalks that had been gathered late in February, 
after exposure to the weather for several months. The fiber produced from these 
stalks was sent to Mr. J. C. Todd, of Paterson, N. J., for manufacture, a few yards 
having been prepared experimentally. During a visit to the factory in Paterson a 
few months later, I was able to secure from the loom whence it was made a small 
specimen of the bagging, which is preserved in the collection of the Department. 
The fiber, which showed fair strength, was reddish in color, or a bright russet, 
though the sample exhibited at Paris approached nearer to straw color. 

Like many other similar enterprises, the anticipated results were not realized, 
and it is doubtful if the harvesting of such rough and uneven material could be 
accomplished at economical cost, even if such stalks or branches could be success- 
fully decorticated. A machine constructed to operate upon straight, clean stalks, 
half an inch or more in diameter, grown rapidly and close together in the field, such 
as hemp stalks, could hardly be expected to work smoothly upon the rough, irregularly 
shaped branches and often crooked material that would be yielded by cotton plants 
grown primarily for lint cotton. 

The only further reference to the economic use of the bast of the cotton stalk for 
fiber is in the Die. Ec. Prod. Ind., Vol. IV. "The stem yields a good liber, which 
may be separated by retting. Several writers have alluded to this subject and 
recommended its utilization, but apparently the people of India are not aware of 
this fact, since no mention is made of their putting it to any useful purpose." As a 
natjve use, however, should be mentioned the employment of the bark of Gossypium 
tomentosum in the Sandwich Islands for rude twine. 






DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 187 

Goun (Burm.). See Boelimeria. 
Grama China. Muhleribergia pungens. 
Grass fibers. 

While fibrous substance is extracted from many species of Graminecv, the family of 
true grasses, the term is frequently applied to fibers derived from plants that are 
grasses in no sense of the word, and it is therefore misleading. Examples: "China 
grass," the fiber from a tall shrub ( Boelimeria) ; "Sisal grass," the fiber from a fleshy- 
leaved Agave, and " Silk grass," which may mean Bromelia fiber, or almost anything. 

Grass tree. 

Resin , Xanthorrhcea australis ; dwarf , X. minor-, both of Dr. Guilfoyle's 

Australasian lists. 

Grewia asiatica et sp. div. 

This genus of Tiliacece comprises shrubs or small trees that are natives of the trop- 
ical and subtropical regions of Asia and Africa; also found in the Malayan Archi- 
pelago. The species that have been recognized as fiber producing are as follows : 

G. adatica (Ind. and Ceyl.). Bast fiber much employed in rope making. 

G. laevigata (Ind., Malay Is., Austr., and tropical Afr.). The fiber is used for cord- 
age in Kanara. 

G. microcos (Ind.). Lisboa includes this species in his list of fibrous plants ( Watt). 

G. oppositifolia (N. W. Himalayas, Ind.). A coarse fiber, made from the bark, is 
used for ropes and nets. "It is neither very strong nor durable nor to be had in any 
quantity" (Trans. Agri. Hort. Soc. Ind.). Has been employed in paper making. 

G. occidentalis (S. Afr.). Kaffir hemp. "A white fiber of great strength extracted 
by retting, and much used by the Kaffirs" (Spon). 

G. scaorophylla (Ind.). Said to yield a fiber suitable for ropes. 

G. iilicefolid (Ind. and Ceyl.). The bark yields a cordage -.fiber. Routledge 
describes the fiber as "strong, harsh, wiry, and hard." Would not pay to export it 
for paper making. I 

Gru gru; also written Groo groo and Gri gri (W. Ind.). See Acrocomia. 
There is confusion in the use of these names. The Kew Mus. Guide gives Astro- 
caryam aculeatum as the Gri-gri, and Acrocomia sclerocarpa as the Gru-gru. 

Guamara (Mex.). See Bromelia pinguin. 

Guano yarey (Cuba). See reference under Thrinax argentea. 

Guaxinduba. 

The bark of this Brazilian tree, species not identified, when beaten yields a kind 
of cloth which has been used by some of the Bolivian tribes as a dress material. 

Guay ubera americana. 

Included in Dr. Niederlein's list of Argentina species. I have not seen the fiber. 

Guayuco (clothing). Colombia. See Gour atari. 
Guazuma tomentosa. 

Endogen. Sterculiacew. A small tree, 20 to 25 feet. 

Tropical America and India. 

This species is known to the French colonists of the West Indies as Orme d'Amer- 
ique, and in India and Jamaica as bastard cedar. Dr. Roxburgh experimented with 
the fiber of this species, and found it to show considerable strength, has been more 
recently examined and thought, with cultivation, to afford a good cordage fiber. In 



188 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



Jamaica the tree is only regarded as useful on account of foliage and fruit, which are 
stock food, and for its timher. 

Guazuma ulmifolia, fine samples of the fiber of which were exhibited in the Mexi- 
can exhibit of the AT. C. E., 1S93, is known in Mexico as Huasima. Mr. St, Hill, who 
sent a sample of fiber to the Department in 1871, states that the species is found in 
Trinidad. Samples of rough cinnamon-colored bast of this species are preserved in 
the Bot. Mus. Harv. Univ. 



Guembipi (Arg.). See PMlodendron. 




Fig. 61.— The peach palm, Guilielma speciosa 



G-uilielma speciosa. The Peach 
Palm. 

Endogen. Palmes. Tree, 60 to 80 feet. 
Native of Venezuela and Guiana. The 
species is chiefly valued for its fruit, which 
is eaten by the natives, and which is pre- 
pared in several ways. Dr. Ernst includes 
the species in his list of Venezuelan fiber 
plants. (See fig. 61.) The revised name of 
this palm is Bactris gasipaes. See Bactris. 

Guimauve. French name for the 
Mallow, which see. 

G-uineo (Venez.). See Musa sa/pien- 
turn. 

Gumbo and Gombo, the Okra (see 

Hibiscus esculent us \. 

Gunda-giiia (Ind.). See Bauhinia 
macrostachya, under B. racemosa. 

Gurach, or Gurcha (Hind.). Tino- 
spora cordifolia. 

Guyetta. HUaria jamesii. 



Gymnostachys anceps. 

A grasslike araceous plant, found in New 
South Wales, called Traveller's grass; "dis- 
tinguished for its extraordinary tenacity. ; ' 
(Savor gnan.) 

Pampas gkass. 



Gynerium argenteum. 

Endogen. Graminece. A giant grass or reed. 

A native of the vast plains of South America, particularly Uruguay, Paraguay, and 
La Platte. Introduced into cultivation as an ornamental plant in many countries. 
The leaves have been used in paper making. 

The leaves of G. saccharoicles have been made in to hats in Dominica and from tbe 
Eio Casiquiare. 

Hair moss. Polytrichum commune. 
Haifa, or Alfa (Alg.). Stipa tenacissima. 

Han (Hawaii). See Hibiscus tiliaceus, 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 189 

Hana (Ceyl.). Yucca gloriosa. 

Hana-mushiro matting (Jap.). See Cyperus unitans. 

Hanf (Ger.). Cannabis saliva. 

Hapu-Ili (Hawaii). See Cibotium. 

Harakeke. No. 2, common var. New Zealand flax. See Phormium 
tenax. 

Hardwickia binata. 

Exogen. Leguminosw. A tree, 100 feet. 
South and central India. A forest tree related to the Copaiva halsam trees of 
South America. It is recorded by Dr. George Watt as a strong cordage fiber and 
nsed without any special preparation by the natives where it abounds. Also used 
for paper. "A valuable fiber for cordage purposes" (Spon). 

Hatiraukawa. New Zealand flax. Phormium tenax. 

Hechima (Jap.). Sponge encumber. See Puff a. 

Heii (Hawaii). Cibotium menziesii. 

Helianthus animus. The Sunflower. 

Exogen. Compositoe. Tall-growing herb. 

Said to be a native of Mexico and Peru. Introduced into Europe about the end of 
the sixteenth century. Cultivated in America, Europe, and in India. 

Fiber. — It has frequently been the subject of experiment in this country as a 
fiber-producing plant, though I have seen no samples of its fiber that would pay for 
the preparation, or that would serve any useful end when prepared, unless for paper 
stock, and there are many American plants better adapted for this purpose. Never- 
theless, Spon states that the plant would repay culture for the fiber yielded from its 
stems. About 6 pounds of seed are required for an acre. In a note from Dr. Havard 
it is stated that the strong fiber in the stem forms a useful material for the manufac- 
ture of rough wrapping paper. There is no longer any doubt about the plant being 
a native of the United States. 

H. tuberosus, the Jerusalem artichoke, is said by Balfour to yield fiber in its stems. 

Heliconia bihai. Balizier. 

The species of this genus of Musacece inhabit tropical America. A specimen of the 
fiber was sent to the Department from Trinidad in 1891, by Mr. St. Hill, who gives 
the following facts concerning it: 

A wild plant which grows on cool soil, and its presence indicates superior land. 
The process of curing or obtaining the fiber is the same as that for the plantain or 
banana. The blades, which resemble the blades of the plantain, produce the fiber, 
but the blades grow from the roots of the bush like a pineapple, and they are 6 to 10 
feet long. One acre will produce about 10,-000 blades, and each blade will produce 
half an ounce of fiber. It is a coarse fiber, not so strong as the other fibers men- 
tioned, but would be good for door mats and similar purposes. It may be reaped 
annually after three years. Not produced commercially. 

Heliocarpus americanus. 

Exogen. Tiliacece. A tree. 
The representatives of the genus are confined to Mexico, Central America, and 
Colombia. 
Fiber. — Specimens of a number of these tree basts were examined by me in the 

Two fibers bearing the names of Jonote and Jolocin 



190 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

have since been identified by Dr. Jose Ramirez, of the National Institute, Mexico, as 
77. americanu8 and 77. arboresccns, respectively. Considered as tree basts, they were 
rated about 75"points out of 100, for strength, color, care in preparation, and utility. 
The uses of the libers were not learned, though, doubtless, they are only valuable for 
rough native cordage and mats, and as paper stock. 

Specimens of a tree bast named Tolotzin, or Catena, and referred to 77. mcxicana. 
were secured by me in the Mexican court, Paris Exp. Univ., 1889, said to make line 
paper, and at that time claiming special attention. The fiber was sent from Tabasco. 

*Specimens. — Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. ; a fine example of the yellowish hast of 77. ami ri- 
canus is preserved in the Bot. Mus. Harv. Univ. 

Hemp. 

The hemp plant proper is Cannabis sativa, or common hemp. It has also been known 
in different parts of the world by the following prefixes : American, Breton, English, 
Himalayan, Italian, Japanese, Kentucky, Persian. Petersburg, and Russian (hemp). 
The many other hemps are : 

Ambari , Hibiscus cannabinus; Bengal, or Bombay , Crotalaria juncea; 

Black-fellow's , Commersonia fraseri ; Bowstring , of Africa, Sanscrieria 

guincensis; of India, S. roxburghiana and S. zeylanica; Florida bowstring , S. 

longiflora; Brown , Hibiscus cannabinus ; Calcutta (erroneously, for jute <, 

Corclt or us spp. ; Cebu , Musa tcxtilis,- Colorado River , Scsbania macrq- 

carpa; Cretan , Datisca cannabina; Cuba ■ , Furcrcpa cubensis; Deccan 

, Hibiscus cannabinus ; False , American, Rhus typhina, not described in 

this catalogue; False sisal , Agave decipiens ; Giant , of China, Cannabis 

gigantea (Bernardin's Cat.), not described in this catalogue ; Hayti , Agave 

fotida (Bernardin's Cat.), synonym of Furcraa gigantea : Jfe (see Sansevieria 

cylindrica) : Indian (see Apocynum cannabinum); Jubbulpore , Crotalaria 

tenuifolia; Ko , Japan (see. Pueraria) ; Konkan — — (see Crotalaria) ; Madras 

, Crotalaria tenuifolia; Manila — = , Afusa tcxtilis : New Zealand (erro- 
neously for New Zealand flax) Phormium tenax; Pangane , Sansevieria lirkii; 

Pita , Yucca spp., also Furcrcpa; Pua — , India, Maoutia puya; Queens- 
land , Sidaretusa et spp. ; Rangoon , Laportea gigas (Bernardin's Cat.) ; 

Roselle , Hibiscus sabdariffa ; Sisal , Agave rigida and its varieties, sisa- 

lana and clongata; Sunn — , Crotalaria juncea; Swedish , Urtica dioica ; 

Tampico , Agave lieteracaniha; "Water , Fupatorium cannabinum and Bidens 

tripartita, the latter not described in this catalogue; Wild (see Maoutia puya). 

Henequen. 

The use of agave fiber on this continent goes so far back into the past that there 
are no records to show when its use began. Among the Aztecs '•' maguey" fiber and 
the liber derived from palm leaves, known as 'Hcxotle" and " ishuate," were woven 
into coarse cloths, the maguey being also known as ''nequen.'' the orthography of 
which is not greatly different from the word "henequen." which is To-day the Mexi- 
can name of sisal hemp, Agave rigida, which see for description and uses of the fiber. 
See also Ancient Fibers in Introduction. 

Hibiscus. 

A very large genus of plants, containing many important fiber-yielding species, 
and' belonging ;td theHaivacea which includes commercial cotton. The plains are 
tall shrubs distinguished by their large showy llowers, the Rose Mallow and Okra 
being representative American species. The species of this genus abound in all 
countries, and no fiber list may be examined that does not include from one to a 
dozen. While the fibers of some of the foreign species are classed as hemps, the 
native forms yield hardly more than jute substitutes, as the liber resembles jute 
more than hemp. 

It is unimportant to treat specially the manj species of the genus which have been 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 191 

recorded as yielding fiber. The principal species are fully described in the appro- 
priate place under their scientific names, and it will only be necessary to give brief 
mentions to a few of the others that have been recorded in the literature of the sub- 
ject. Among the earlier specimens of fiber received by the Department are those 
from R. rosa-sinensis, the Chinese rose, and II. liliifiorus, source unknown. Speci- 
mens of the following species were received from the Australian exhibits of the 
Phil. Int. Exh., 1876: H. sorbifolia, II. tetracus, and H. mutabilis. A Victorian species 
is H. heterophyllu8, "the bark of Avhich is rich in fiber of good quality." (Dr. 
Guilfoyle.) The two first named species are not found in the Kew Index, but Dr. 
Guilfoyle's label names are retained on the specimens in the museum, and so referred 
to here. 

Spon mentions Indian species as follows : H. furcatus is found in the southern 
province of India and in the interior of Bengal. The bark yields an abundance of 
strong white fibers ; a line broke at 89 pounds dry and 92 pounds wet. The stems are 
cut when the plant is flowering, and steeped at once. H. Jiculneus, native of Bengal, 
with a straight stem 6 to 14 feet high, and very smooth bark, thrives luxuriantly 
with little or no care, yet is very little cultivated for its fiber. The seed is sown in 
beds in May, and when the plants are 6 inches high they are set out in rows, 
9 inches apart each way. The luxuriant growth and habits of the plant commend it 
to serious attention. H. vitifolius, common all over India, is a wild plant yielding a 
very white, fine and strong fiber, extracted by retting. Other Indian species from 
which fiber has been extracted are: H. collinus, H. surattensis, and H. tricuspis. 
H. ludwigii is a native of south Africa, and yields a fiber of great toughness. H. sul- 
pliureus is a Venezuela species mentioned in Dr. Ernst's list of fibers. Many others 
might be named, but the present list will suffice. 

Vetillart states that the fiber of Hibiscus, when minutely examined in glycerin, 
appears as a bundle, the filaments strongly united together, so much so that they are 
with difficulty separated even after treatment in an alkaline solution. The fibers 
are short, stiff, and brittle; of sufficient fineness, but irregular in size, even in the 
same specimens. The central cavity, usually narrow, is prominent ; cells generally 
terminating in fringed points, sometimes having notches or sinuosities in their out- 
lines; some are large, ribboned, and creased, the exterior surface striated. These 
last have very slender walls, which explain the creases. Viewed transversely with 
a high power the fibers are seen to be polygonal, with sharp angles and straight 
sides, the polygons pressed compactly together. The walls are thick and the central 
cavity round or oval. 

Hibiscus abelmoschus. The Musk Mallow. 

Exogen. Malvaceae. A herbaceous bush. 

Common throughout the hotter parts of India, two forms being recognized in the 
Indian Elora, var. 1, multiformis, and var. 2, betulifolius, according to George Watt. 

Bast Fiber. — In a series of experiments made by the Agricultural Horticultural 
Society of India, at the request of the Government, it was shown that the fiber of H. 
abelmoschus yielded the best crop of all fiber-yielding plants under experiment. With 
a Death and Ellwood machine a yield of 800 pounds of fiber to the acre was recorded. 
The society arrived at the conclusion that the cultivation of this plant offered no 
advantages over jute. 

Hibiscus arboreus. The Mahatjt. 

I have not been able to verify this species. Described by Squier as growing to the 
height of 16 to 18 feet. He states that "its bark is tough, and not much, if at all, 
inferior to hemp for many purposes ; white, soft, and apparently adapted to the man- 
ufacture of paper. Uses locally for making ropes." "The celebrated Cuban bast- 
wood, the bark of which furnishes a coarse but strong cordage, in universal use 
wherever a rope or string is needed and which is not a bad substitute for chains; 



192 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



grown in considerable quantity at Samana. (Santo Domingo) and -was seen more 
sparingly along streams in the mountains" (Charles Wright). See H. elatus. 

Hibiscus cannabinus. Ambaei Hemp. 

This is the most valuable species of the genus. The plant is a native of the East 
Indies, and at present is largely cultivated for liber throughout India, the product 
being almost wholly utilized by the agricultural classes where grown as a substi- 
tute for hemp. Its common names are Deccan hemp and Ambari hemp, the latter 
particularly in western India. In Madras it is called Palungoo. It is the Mesta pat of 
Bengal, and Deccan or Ambari hemp of Bombay. The Sanskrit name is Ndlita. The 
plant has a prickly stem, the leaves deeply parted, and the stem attains a height of 
6 to 8 feet. 

Bast Fiber. — The fiber is described as soft, white, and silky, and by some writers 
is said to be more durable than jute for the coarser textiles. "It is largely grown 
by the natives of India and employed for agricultural purposes — ropes, strings, and 
sacks being made from it. The length of the extracted fiber varies between 5 and 
10 feet. The fiber is somewhat stiff and brittle, and though used as a substitute for 
hemp and jute, it is inferior to both. The breaking strain has been variously stated 
at 115 to 190 pounds. It is bright and glossy, but coarse and harsh. It is sold with 
and as jute, and is employed in Bengal for the purposes of jute, including fishing 
nets and paper. Samples of the fiber exposed for two honrs to steam at 2 atmos- 
pheres, followed by boiling in water for three hours, and again steamed for four 
hours, lost only 3.63 per cent by weight, as against flax, 3.50; manila hemp, 6.07; 
hemp. 6.18 to 8.44; jute, 21.39." (Watt.) 

The fibers of carefully prepared Ambari are from 5 to 6 feet long. Compared 
with ordinary hemp they are paler brown, harsher, adhere closer together, though 
divisible into fine fibrils, possessed of considerable strength. Its tenacity tested 
with sunn is as 115 to 130. "Fiber stiff and brittle, has no superiority over jute. 
and it is very inferior to that of India hemp or sunn" ( Vitillarf). A roughly pre- 
pared sample of bast from this species was sent to the Department from the Alabama 
Experiment Station in May, 1896. 

Cultivation. — Though thriving at all seasons of the year, it is generally culti- 
vated in the cold season. The seeds are sown as thickly as hemp, in rich, loose soil, 
and it requires about three months' growth before it is ready to be pulled for 
"watering" and dressing, the mode of treatment being the same as that given the 
sunn hemp, Crotalaria juncea (see p. 139). Fnll-grown plants that have ripened their 
seed furnish stronger fiber than the plants cut while in flower, though the fibers of 
this species are more remarkable for their fineness than for strength. 

In harvesting the plants are either cut close to the ground or pulled up by the 
roots, as the lower portion of the stem contains the best fiber. The stalks are sub- 
merged in water and allowed to remain from six to ten days, according to the 
weather, when the bark can be readily peeled by the hand. Too long steeping, 
while it makes white fiber, results in a loss of strength. 

The fiber is prepared by bundling the stalks, which, after a few days, are steeped 
for nearly a week in water under stones. When sufficiently retted they are cleaned 
by beating them on the ground, the fiber is stripped off. washed, and dried. Five 
hundred stems about 8 feet high, as grown en masse in gardens, were recently 
taken at random and the fiber removed and cleaned in the usual way. The result 
was 54 pounds clean and good fiber. The stems when carefully dried weighed 
nearly 20 pounds. Assuming the acre to be 40,000 square feet after allowing for 
waste patches the number of stems at 3 inches apart would be 640,000. hence the 
yield in clean fiber at 1 pound per 100 would be 6,400 pounds, equ;il to 2- tons. 
The stems would yield also 11 tons of poor fuel. (From Eeport Rev. and Ag. Dept. 
of India.) 

Uses. — A coarse sackcloth is made from its fil>er in India sometimes called 
gunny), though its chief employment is for ropes and cordage, it being the common 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



193 



cordage of the country in a few districts. Coarse canvas is also made from it. In 
Bengal it is employed at the present time for all the purposes of jute and also for 
making fish nets and paper. There is no doubt, however, that it is less cultivated 
than in Roxburgh's time, or even at a later period when Royle's work was published, 
and before jute came into commercial prominence. In the catalogue of the Indian 
department, Lond. Exh., 1862, it is stated that every ryot sows a small quantity 
along the edges of his crop for his own use. At that time it was valued at about 2 
cents per pound, average. 

"A universal practico exists in Egypt of sowing teale {H. cannabinus) around the 
cotton fields for protection from cold, sand storms, etc. The seeds are sown the same 
time as the cotton, not as a thick belt, but merely about 9 inches in width. The 
plant grows fairly rapidly, and soon reaches a good height. At the end of Septem- 
ber or in October it is cut, steeped in water, and the fiber obtained used for making 
ropes, etc." {George P. Foaden.) 

Hibiscus elatus. Blue or Mountain Mahoe. Cuba Bast. 

Native of West Indies. A tree, 50 to 60 feet with roundish leaves and large 
flowers of a purplish-saffron color. (See fig. 62.) 

Bast Fiber. — A specimen of the fiber from Demerara, sent to the Department in 
1863, was described as very strong but coarse and suitable for making cordage, coffee 
bags, etc. "Thefibersmake 
good ropes. The lace-like 
inner bark was at one time 
known as Cuba bark (Cuba 
bast), from its being used 
as the material for tying 
around bundles of Havana 
cigars" (Fawcett). A small 
quantity of -fiber known 
commercially as Cuba bast 
or Guana comes to this 
country, though latterly the 
supply is very small owing 
to the revolutionary trou- 
bles in Cuba. Messrs. Flint, 
Eddy & Co., the New York 
importers, have furnished 
information concerning it as 
follows: 

The process of gathering 
entails the destruction of 
the tree, which is cut down, 
the bark peeled off, exposing 
the fiber, which is separated 
from the bark and spread 
out in the sun to dry, and subsequently packed in bales containing 150 pounds, or 
thereabouts. There are two or three grades of it, ranging in price from 25 to 75 
cents per pound, the more desirable grades being the lighter and softer textures. It 
is used extensively in this country and Europe for making women's hats and milli- 
nery trimmings, such aa braids, etc. Its porousness makes it very desirable for the 
above purpose, as it readily absorbs a dye without impairing its texture. We under- 
stand that it is also used to some extent in Europe for making hammock twine, 
narrow strips of it twisted into the form of twine having considerable tensile 
strength. In using it for millinery purposes it is slit into narrow strij)s and then 
woven, twisted, braided, etc. 

*Speeimens. — Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 
12247— No. 9 13 




Fig. 62. — Leaf and blossom of Hibiscus elatus. 



f. 



194 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Hibiscus esculentus. Okra. 

Syn. Abelmo8chu8 esculentus. 

Common and NATIVE names. — Okra, gumbo of Louisiana, gombo (Fr.) ; quimbombo 
(Span.); bamiyah (Pers.); bamiya (Arab.); bhindi (Hind.); baudaka (Ceyl.), 
and many others. 

The plant is a native of the West Indies, but cultivation has introduced it to all 
tropical and subtropical countries. It flourishes throughout the Southern United 
States, where it is grown for its pods, which form a useful article in the domestic 
economy. It is also cultivated in South American countries, as well as in countries of 
the Old World, the French estimating it highly as a food plant. In France it is 
known as gombo, and it is the " gumbo" of Louisiana, which is employed in a num- 
ber of Creole dishes, the sliced pods often being used to thicken the soup known as 
"gumbo" or "chicken gumbo." During the late civil war, when the Southern States 
were cut off from communication from the rest of the world by a rigidly enforced 
blockade, coffee became very scarce and difficult to obtain. During this time many 
of the people of the Southern States, and especially the poorer classes, utilized the 
seed of the okra plant by either mixing with coffee or using it alone. They found 
the seed thus prepared a very fair sustitute for coffee. 

A few years ago okra attracted considerable attention as a possible fiber for South- 
ern cultivation to replace jute in the manufacture of " Cotton bagging ; " a large cor- 
respondence with the Department resulted, and many articles on the subject appeared 
in the newspapers of the day. As is frequently the case, however, the value of the 
plant and the ease of its cultivation for fiber were very much overrated, and subse- 
quent experiments did not substantiate the claims made for the plant. 

Bast Fiber. — In color okra fiber is as white as New Zealand flax, much lighter 
than jute as usually prepared for export, but more brittle and showing less strength. 
The filaments are smooth and lustrous and are tolerably regular. " The fiber is long 
and silky and generally strong and pliant. When well prepared, as in portions of 
India, it is adapted for the manufacture of rope, twine, sacking, and paper. In Ben- 
gal its fiber is reputed harsh and brittle, owing doubtless to improper treatment, and 
it is but little manufactured there. In Dacca and Mymensing it is used to adulterate 
jute. It resembles hemp, and under this name is exported to the amount of a few 
thousand hundredweight yearly. In France the manufacture of paper from this 
fiber is the subject of a patent; the fiber receives only mechanical treatment and 
affords a paper called banda, said to be equal to that made from pure rags." (Spon. ) 

Dr. Roxburgh experimented with okra many years ago in India, and made repeated 
tests of the strength of the fiber. In preparing the material for these tests, the stems 
were cut when the seed was ripe, and were steeped a few days before preparing. 
His tests, compared with hemp and jute, are thus recorded : The okra fiber, dry (from 
India), broke with a strain of 79 pounds; wet, 95 pounds; jute (Corchorus olitoriua), 
dry, 113 pounds; wet, 125 pounds; hemp (Bengal), dry, 158 pounds; wet, 190 pounds. 
Hibiscus cannabinus in the same test gave, dry, 115 pounds; wet, 133 pounds. Other 
species of Hibiscus gave as follows: H. sabdariffa, dry, 95 pounds; wet, 117 pounds, 
H. strictus (from the Mollucas), dry, 104 pounds; wet, 115 pounds; and, H. furcatus, 
dry and wet. 89 and 92 pounds, respectively. It will be seen by these tests that okra 
fiber is not only inferior to that from other species of mallows, but is inferior to jute, 
and not half as strong as hemp. 

Cultivation. — The effort to bring okra into cultivation in the United States as a 
fiber plant began about 1890. A bagging and cordage company of Fort Worth, Tex., 
became interested in the fiber, and issued a circular entitled A Word to Farmers, 
which contained a lengthy account of the production of the liber and its uses. It 
was hoped to make the culture of the fiber and its manufacture into bagging a suc- 
cess "in order to give a substitute for jute that would enable the farmers of the South 
to avoid paying tribute to the 'jute trust.' " The company named in the circular 
offered to sell seed to the farmers at cost and purchase all the product " that could 
be carted to the mill." The Department carried on a lengthy correspondence with 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 195 

Dr. M. Chambers, who was named in the circular, and was much interested in a 
machine he was constructing, which, however, was never perfected. A large area 
was planted in okra near Forth Worth, hut the Department was not able, subse- 
quently, to learn how much liber was secured, if any, or to obtain samples of either 
fiber or stalks. Like many other such enterprises, the advantages of the culture 
were very much overstated, and the ratio of cost of production to yield and value of 
product doubtless appeared, in actual practice, inversely, compared with the golden 
promises made at the outset of the experience. 

"In the cultivation of this plant the seeds are thickly sown, on any rich soil, 
about the beginning of April in the South, and by the beginning of May in the 
North, in drills 6 inches apart. The seeds can also be sown broadcast, about 20 
pounds to the acre; but here much care has to be taken to sow as uniformly as pos- 
sible. In eighty or ninety days the stalks take a rosy color, and without irrigation 
they will then have attained a height of from 4£ to 5£ feet, while with irrigation dur- 
ing dry weather they will grow to a length of from 6 to 8 feet and even more. The 
stalks can then be cut with a mowing machine, having a dropper attached, 2 or 3 
inches from the ground." (Fremerey .) 

A Florida correspondent states that "the plant will not only grow from the seed 
almost without cultivation, but in this climate it will rattoon three years, the last 
crop nearly equal to the first, it being very rarely injured by frost." He places the 
yield of stalks at 15 tons per acre, though Dr. C. F. Panknin, of Charleston, S. C, 
who planted a small area in okra obtained results from his carefully conducted 
experiments as follows : A half acre of stalks was produced, one-half of which, 
when decorticated by his process, yielded at the rate of 180 pounds of fiber to the 
acre, the expense being in the neighborhood of $75. The fiber has been used experi- 
mentally in the manufacture of paper in Alabama. 

From a careful consideration of the subject in all its details, not only as relates to 
our own but to other countries, and considering the weakness of the fiber compared 
with jute, I conclude that the cultivation of the okra plant for its fiber can not be 
made a paying industry in the United States. And this opinion is emphasized by 
the fact that there are several species of indigenous fiber plants which could be as 
easily grown and which are superior to jute in strength, while India jute itself will 
do well in many of the Southern States. For further accounts see Report No. 6, 
Fiberlnvestigations series, U. S. Dept. Ag. (1894) ; Kew Bull., Oct., 1890; Spon's Enc, 
Div. Ill; Diet. Ec. Prod. Ind., Vol. IV; U. S. Pat. Rept. (Agricult.), 1859. 

^Specimens. — Field Col. Mus. ; Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Hibiscus moscheutos. The Swamp Eose Mallow. 

This is one of the commonest of the mallows, found in many parts of the temper- 
ate United States, according to Gray " inhabitating brackish marshes along the 
coast, extending up rivers far beyond the influence of salt water (as above Harris- 
burg, Pa.), also Onondaga Lake, New York, and westward, usually within the influ- 
ence of salt springs." The plant grows from 4 to 8 feet in height and flowers late in 
summer. It is also found in India. It is known in Trinidad as African okra or Gumbo 
misse. (See fig. 63.) 

Bast Fiber. — Samples of the fiber in the museum collections are evidently hand 
prepared, and show little strength. Those from experiments made in New Jersey in 
1880 were considered u not only as good as India jute, but as secondary grades of 
imported hemps." The value of the fiber, however, was very much overestimated. 
Experiments with plant and fiber date back many years. 

"Recent experiments with the rose mallow at Camden and Newark incline us 
strongly to believe that jute of equal quality may be obtained from it, and possibly 
under conditions more advantageous than from the Abutilon (A. avicennce). One 
very important advantage the rose mallow would have over the Abutilon, in respect 
to the economy of cultivation, consists in its being a perennial. Like ramie, the 
plants once established, the annual cuttings from the stands would be a perpetual 



196 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



source of profit to the cultivator, iu case the quality and cost of the fiber meet our 
present expectations." Second Report of the Bureau of Statistics, Labor, and 
Industries of New Jersey, 1880.) 

Although the plant is usually found, in a wild state, in marshes, or upon the mar- 
gin of streams, or in low. wet places, experiments show that it will thrive upon 
uplands as well. Thirty-five years ago rose mallow roots were taken from the place 
of their natural growth and planted upon uplands on the Delaware River, with a 
view to utilization of the liber, and for many years they held their own as tenaciously 
as when mowing in their native swamps; and they may be growing upon these 
uplands to-day, for all that is known to the contrary. 

^Specimen. — Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 




Fig. 63.— Leaves and blossoms of Hibiscus moschctdos. 



Hibiscus mutabilis. The Changeable Hibiscus. 

A native of China, but largely cultivated in India, and distributed to other coun- 
tries. It grows in Trinidad and is known as the White Mahoe. Shalapara is one of 
the Indian names of the plant. 

FIBER. — Hart says: --An introduced tree (iu Trinidad) giving a poor bast liber." 
Watt says: "The bark yields a strong fiber I in India), but from the inner layer soft 
and silky, that from the outer layer hard and of a lead color. v Roxburgh considered 
it inferior for cordage purposes. 

Hibiscus sabdariffa. Kozelle Hemp. 

This is the "Jamaica Indian Sorrel," the plant which furnishes the " rozeUe" (or 
oiselh) hemp of the Madras territories. In India it is a small bush, cultivated in 
many portions of that country, its stems yielding a strong, silky fiber by retting the 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 197 

twigs when in flower. Its fleshy calyxes, of a pleasant acid taste, are mnch employed 
for making tarts as well as jelly, and in the West Indies the fruit is much esteemed 
for making cooling drinks. Another culinary use of the plant in India is the prepa- 
ration of its leaves in salads. The species grows in southern Florida, where it is 
planted in March and comes to maturity in Decemher. 

Bast Fiber. — A superb sample of this fiber was shown in the exhibit of British 
Guiana, W. C. E., 1893, which was accompanied hy the stalks some 10 feet high, as 
straight and clean as jute stalks. 

The fiber Avas equal, if not superior, to much of the jute which comes to this 
country. In my examination for award it was given the following rating: Length, 
90 points; strength, 75 points; color, 80 points; average, 81. G. 'The stem yields a 
fiber (in Jamaica) which is fine and silky." (Faivcett.) 

E. N. Knapp states that the plant thrives in cultivation, but that it will not stand 
much frost. It will grow on quite poor land, though it does best on good land, 
where it reaches a height of 8 to 10 feet. It can he produced from cuttings as well 
as from seed. Even in Florida it is much esteemed ior its fruit, which is used soon 
after the blossoms fall. It is said to make an excellent jelly, and is used as a sauce, 
much as the cranberry is used in the Northern States. 

*Specimens. — Field Col. Mus. ; U. S. Nat. Mus. ; Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Hibiscus splendens. Hollyhock Tree. 

Fiber from this species, a native of Queensland and New South Wales, was received 
from Victoria (Phil. Int. Exh., 1876), prepared hy Dr. Guilfoyle, who states that the 
species is a splendid tree, growing to a height of 20 feet or more. "It is very pubes- 
cent, hearing large pink flowers resembling hollyhocks in size and appearance. The 
fiber is suitahle for cordage, fish lines, paper, etc." 

Hibiscus tiliaceus. The Majagua. 

Syn. Paritium tiliaceum. 

Native and common nameo. -Majagua (Venez.); Huamaga (Ecuador); Emaja- 
gua, Damajagua, and Majagua (Peru) ; Mahoe-bord-la-mer (Trin. ) ; San (Hawaii) ; 
Bola (Beng.); Belli patti (Bomb.) ; TMriban (Burm.) ■ Bellgobel (Ceyl.). 

The species abounds in Central and South America, India, tropical Australia, and 
the Pacific Islands. " It was generally cultivated in America prior to 1492." 

Bast Fiber. — The samples of fiher examined are not as good as the hest jute, 
though, according to Roxburgh's experiments, it gains in strength hy heing wet, a 
point in its favor. The following results were recorded: "A line broke when white 
with a weight of 41 pounds, after heing tanned with 62 pounds, and after having 
heen tarred with 61 pounds. A similar line macerated in water for 116 days hroke 
when white with 40 pounds, tanned 55 pounds, and tarred 70 pounds. These obser- 
vations are of great interest, for, of the other fibers experimented with hy Roxhurgh, 
the majority were rotten after maceration, and no other fiher showed so marked an 
improvement for cordage purposes when tarred. English hemp and Indian grown 
hemp, treated in the same manner, were found to he rotten, and sunn hemp hroke 
with 65 pounds, and jute with 60 pounds." 

Mahoe-bord-la-mer does not grow inland in Trinidad, hut is found on the seashore. 
The fiber, of fair quality, is obtained in lengths of 4 to 6 feet. " There are no large 
numbers of the trees existing and little manufactured. The hast is used for making 
ropes when the native has no money to buy hemp or manila. Ropes so made are 
good and strong, hut there is little prospect of the trees heing produced in quantity. 
They grow 15 to 20 feet high with stems 8 to 20 inches in diameter." 

In Peru, where it is known as Dar.njagua or Emajagua, it is largely used hy the 
Indians for the manufacture of ropes and cords. In Ecuador, where it is also 
known as Damajagua and Huamaga, it is used in lieu of cloth, a very fine sample 
of a sheet of fiher a foot wide hy 2 feet in length, and as thick as felt, is preserved 



198 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



in the Eerb. < !ol. Univ., X. Y. In Venezuela it is used for a kind of ordinary cordage, 
and the natives of the Sandwich Islands employ it for rough rope. In other 
countries it is used for cordage, fishing nets, etc. One of the native Indian methods 
of preparing the fiber, when a rope is wanted, is to strip the hark from a branch, 
and holding one end of a strip firmly with the toes it is twisted with the hands. 
The plant and fiber in India is fully described in Die. Ec. Prod. Ind., Vol. IV, and 
by George Watt in Selections from the Rec. Gov. Ind. Rev. and Ag. Dept.. 18*8. 
Dr. Theo. Wolf says: A large tree, but not very thick; the hark is cut off and put 
in water, where it rots like hemp and loses its outer part, the remainder being a 

fibrous substance which is very strong 
and soft, and variously used. 

* Specimens. — Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Hicoria spp. Hickory Trees. 

Syn. Carya. 

The species of hickory need no spe- 
cial description. They do not produce 
" fiber," though the subdivided wood 
is used for many purposes in which 
the true fibers are employed. These 
are chiefly in the manufacture of bas- 
ketry and brushes, from splints or 
strips of the wood. 

The Chicago Fiber Company in- 
forms me that in the preparation of 
hickory splints for brush manufacture 
the material used is second-growth 
timber. The log is cut up into the 
lengths required and put in a steam 
vat for the purpose of softening and 
removing the bark, after which it is 
conveyed to a veneering machine, 
made especially for that purpose: 
then it is conveyed in large sheets to 
a chopper, where it is cut into splints 
in the width required; the splints are 
then set on a rack to dry. and when 
dry are pressed into bales from 100 
to 300 pounds in weight, preparatory 
to shipment to the brush factory. For 
preparation of splints for basket mak- 
ing, see Fraxxnus. Mr. Sudworth in- 
forms me that a bark fiber from hickory is used in the South. 

Hierochloe odorata. Taxilla Grass. 

Syn. Hierochloe boreali8. Now known ;:s Savastana odorata. 

Endogen. (-raminece. A sweet-scented perennial, 1 to 2 feet. 
Inhabits moist meadows and mountains of the northeastern States, extending west- 
ward to Oregon. Grows also in England where it is known as holy or sacred grass, 
from its having been used for strewing on church floors Known in this country as 
vanilla grass, Seneca grass, sweet grass, etc. "This grass, remarkable for its fra- 
grance, has long, creeping rhizomes, from which spring the flowering culms and 
numerous b>ng-leafed sterile or nowerless shoot-: woven into small mats and hoxes 
by the Indians. Its odor resembles that of a sweet vernal grass, but is more pow- 
erful, especially when dry. In some European countries it is believed to have a 
tendency to induce sleep, ami bunches of it are hung over beds for this purpose." 




Hopi Indian basket grass, Hilaria jamt 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 199 

Structural Fiber. — Dr. Havard states in Garden and Forest, 1890, p. 619, that 
the New England Indians, especially the Penobscots, make an extensive use of the 
holy grass (Hicrochloe borcalis). Its long, radical leaves become strongly involute 
in drying, forming flexible threads, which are braided into line strips, and these are 
woven into baskets and other pretty fancy work. He has also found braids of the 
holy grass in a camp of the Crow Indians on the Yellowstone, but did not learn how 
they were used. The delicate and lasting fragrance of the dried leaves gives them 
an additional and perhaps not their least merit. 

Higucion (Peru). See Ficus gigantea. 

Hik-gas (Ind.). See Odina ivodier. 

Hilaria jamesii. Black Bunch Grass. 

Endogen. Graminece. A stiff grass, 12 to 18 inches. 

Common and Indian names. — Black bunch grass, Guyetta, Gietta; Hopi 
(Moqui) Indian, " Takachii; from taka, man, culiii, a wiry grass ; the male cUliii" 
(Feivlces). 
A rather coarse perennial, with creeping rootstocks, and stems 12 to 18 inches high. 
It is common on the dry mesas of New Mexico and Arizona, extending eastward into 
Texas and Indian Territory. Where abundant it is regarded as one of the most valu- 
able native grasses and furnishes excellent pasturage at all times when not covered 
with snow, and is frequently cut for hay. (F. Lamson-Scribner.) 

Structural Fiber. — The grass which the Hopi Indians assume to be the female 
ciihit or H. jamesii, is used by the women in making the coil trays described under 
the title Yucca glauca, which see. These coil trays, called poota, are a famous 
Tusayan manufacture. (See fig. 64.) 

Himalayan bamboo (see Arundinaria falcata). 
Hkaw-ma of Liotard (Burm.). Linum usitatissimum, 
Hoa-ko-chu (China). See Broussonetia. 
Hoheria populnea. Ribbonwood of Otago. 

Exogen. Malvaceae. A tree. 
A New Zealand species, resembling the Aspen. "The delicate lace-like bast from 
its young branches, being strong and glossy, might be used for other purposes than 
matting and string." (Dr. Gnilfoyle.) 

Hollyhock fiber (see Althaea rosea). 
Hollyhock tree. Hibiscus splendens. 
Holostemma rheedianum. 

Exogen. Asclepiadacew. Climber. 
A native East Indian species, said by Royle to yield a fair fiber that is in best con- 
dition after the rains. Watt says, "A fiber about which very little information' is 
available." It has been described as pure and silky and adapted to cordage and 
paper making. 

Honckenya ficifolia. Bolo-bolo. 

Exogen. TiHacece. 

Specimens of fiber of this species were sent to the Royal Kew Gardens in 1888 from 
Lagos, west coast of Africa; known as Bolo-bolo in the Popo vernacular, and Agbon- 
rin-Ilassa in Yaruba. 

We consider this a very valuable fiber of the jute class, but distinctly superior 
to the latter in many respects, and more particularly in strength. It is of good 
length and well cleaned. If this fiber is capable of being produced in large quanti- 
ties there is a very wide field open to it commercially. Its market value would be 



200 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

regulated by that of jute, but in our opinion it would always command a higher 
price. If it could be prepared of a whiter color it would prove still more accepta- 
ble, but even as it is we should be very glad to see large quantities placed on this 
market, where they would sell readily. (Ide <)• Christie.) 

Honeysuckle fiber (see Lonicera). 
Hoop ash. Fra.rinus nigra. 
Hop, Common (see Rumulus lupulus). 
Hordeum vulgare. Barley. 

Syn. H. sativum. 

Cultivated barley, which is represented by many varieties, appears to have origi- 
nated from Hordeum spontaneum of southwestern Asia. 

"Six-rowed barley has been in cultivation since prehistoric times in southern 
Europe ; two-rowed barley is now largely cultivated iu England and Central Europe, 
The four-rowed barleys are of later origin than the others, and are most generally 
cultivated in northern Europe and in this country. The barley crop of the United 
States for 1895 was 87,072,744 bushels, of which amount six States produced over 
73,000,000 bushels, California leading with 19,023,678 bushels. Barley is the most 
important cereal of the far north, some of the varieties being cultivated in Norway 
to latitude 70 c . It is employed in making bread also in northern Asia and Japan. 
Barley soup is an article of diet in central Europe. From naked barley (Hordeum 
decortication) a mucilaginous tea is prepared, used in medicine. The grain is largely 
fed to horses, both in this country and in Europe, but the chief use is for brewing 
beer." (F. Lamson-Scribner.) 

Structural Fiber. — The only country making a commercial use of barley straw 
for plaiting, as far as the author has investigated the subject, is Japan, where the 
manufacture of straw plait, both from rice and barley, is a great industry. The plait 
is mostly exported to this country and to France and England for hat manufacture, 
and has represented in a single year a value of 350,450 yen. or $228,000. 

Two forms of straw are employed in Japan, there being three qualities of each, 
viz : Nagawara, produce of Omori-mura, and Kiriicara, produce of Yebara-gun, Tokyo. 
A large collection of the straw plait of Japan was exhibited at the W. C. E., 1893, 
at Chicago, there being over 20 forms in the series. 

It was learned that some farmers bleach barley straw cultivated by themselves, in 
the leisure of field work, and sell it to manufacturers of straw plaits, but generally 
the farmers after harvesting and thrashing the barley cut the upper part of the straw 
to the length of 3 decimeters and sell it to the straw plaiters. Although the straw 
for plaiting in Japan is not so good as that of Italy, yet it is better in quality than 
that of China and other countries. In Japan several articles, especially playthings, 
have been made of straw from olden times; but recently, on account of straw plait 
being much exported to foreign countries, especially to the United States of America, 
the manufacturers of the plaits have increased year by year. 

" Specimens. — Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Horsetail grass (see Dichelachne crinita). 

Huachasso (Peru). See Tillandsia. 

Huamaga (Ecuador). Same as Damajagua. See Hibiscus tiliaceus. 

Huampo (Peru). See Cheirostemon. 

Huang-li-Pu (China). Fabric from Ananas sativa. 

Huasima (Braz.). See Guazuma. 

Huhiroa. New Zealand flax. Phormium, 

Huimba (Peru). See Bomba.t . 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



201 



Huimbaquiro ceibo (Peru). See Bombax ceiba. 
Huinari blanca (Mex.). See Sida rhombifolia. 
Huirahuira (Peru). Culeitium canescens. 
Huitoc (Peru). See Genipa. 
Hujed (Arab.). See Adansonia digitata. 
Humulus lupulus. Common Hop. 

Exogen. Urticaceee. Perennial twining herb. 

This species, known and. cultivated the world over, where there are brewers to use 
its product, may also be enu- 
merated among textile plants. <^/T^if\ 

Fiber. — The fiber is well 
suited for paper making, 
especially unbleached paper 
and cardboard. In Sweden it 
has long been applied to tex- 
tile manufactures. It is ex- 
tracted from the plant by 
steeping for twenty-four hours 
in cold water containing 5 
per cent of sulphuric acid, or 
for twenty minutes in boiling 
water with 3 per cent of the 
acid. Another plan is to boil 
for three-quarters of an hour 
in water containing soap or 
soda, then to wash, and boil 
in very dilute acetic acid. The 
fiber is finally washed, dried, 
and combed, and then resem- 
bles flax. (Spon.) Its use for 
fiber has never been recorded 
in this country. 

Huruhuruhika. lew 
Zealand flax. See Phor- 
miuvn. 



Hymenaea courbaril. 

West Indian Locust. 




Fig. 65. — The Doum palm, Hyphcene thebaica. 



A species of leguminous 
plant found in the West In- 
dies and South America. It is the jatai of Brazil and the simiri of Guiana. Useful 
timber tree. Furnishes the Gum Animi. " It is covered with a very thick but light 
bark, which is used by the Indians for making their canoes." 

Hymenodictyon excelsum. 

A Ceylon species closely related to cinchona. Is mentioned by Liotard as a fiber- 
producing plant that might be considered for paper stock. 

Hyphaene thebaica. The Doum Palm. 

A palm of Egypt, exceptional from its normally branching trunk. Savorgnan 
states that fiber is derived from this palm that is adapted to various uses, especially 
for brush and broom making. (See fig. 65.) 



202 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Ibira (Span.) =tree, or wood. 

Ibisco (It.) —Hibiscus. 

i-Boonda (Natal). Dombeya natalensis. 

Ife hemp (see Sansevieria cylindrica). 

Igi-ogura (W. Afr., Yorubalaiul). Rap/iia vini^era. 

Imbe (Braz.). See Pliilodendron imbe. 

Imbul (Ceyl.). See Eriodendron anfractuosum. 

Inaja palm (Braz.). See Maximiliana regia. 

Indian aloes. Aloe vera. 

Indian Coral tree. Erythrina indica. 

Indian gut (see Caryota urens). 

Indian hemp (IT. S.). Apocynum canuabinum. (Incl.) See Crotalaria. 

Indian mallow (IT. S.). See Abutilon avicenna\ 

Indian paper birch. Betula bliojpattra. 

Indian sorrel, of Jamaica. Hibiscus sabdariffa. 

Indigo plant fiber (see Indigo/era). 

Indigofera atropurpurea. 

A germs of the Leguminosa 1 , to which belongs the Indigo plant, /. tinctoria. The 
species above named is a small Himalayan shrub, the twigs of which are said by 
Watt to be used for basket work and bark bridges. In Kavirondo, British Cen- 
tral Africa, a species of this genus, with the common name Tissiamcna, is used for 
basketry. 

Ingipipa (Br. Guian). See Couratari. 

Ipomcea digitata. Caffir cotton. 

Syn. Batatas paniculata. 

The Ipomocas, belonging to the Conrolvulaceo', are widely distributed over all warm 
climates, with a few species extending into North America, extratropical Africa, and 
Australia. The morning glory is a representative of the genus. 

This species is merely referred to in Bernard's catalogue, as oue of the fiber plants 
of middle Africa. 

Bernardiu includes /. gerrardi in his list under the name wild cotton of Natal. 

Irabirussu (Baliia). See Couratari. 
Iriartea deltoidea. Camona. 

A Peruvian palm, which Dorca states yields iiber used by the Indians. 

Iriartea exorrhiza. 

A Brazilian palm, used for thatch in connection with Geonoma baculifera, which 
see. The species is known in Brazil as Paxvuiba or Pashiuba, while /. setUjt ra is Paxiuba- 
mira, and /. ventricosa is Barriguda. (Sec Orton, and im Thum.) 

These three species are now placed in as many genera, the title species being 
referred to Socratea; I. setigera is Iriartella, and ventricosa remains in Iriartea. (See 
figs. 67 and 68.) 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



203 



to the Iridacece. This specjes is found iu 



Iris macrosiphon. 

A genus of perennial plants belong 
California. 

Structural Fiber. — Dr. Havard states in Garden, and Forest, 1890, p. 631, that 
the leaves of this species are much used in northern California ana in Oregon to 
make ropes, fish lines, nets, and a cloth hardly distinguishable from coarse canvas. 
The leaves are 1 to 2 feet long and 1 to 3 lines wide, each with two strong fibers, 
forming the edges. These fibers are dexter- 
ously separated by tbo squaws with a sharp 
zinc thumb piece, then neatly and evenly 
braided into cord of variable size, or otherwise 
woven into nets, cloth, etc. 

Iris pseudacorus is the Yellow Water Iris, a 
common weed of England and Ireland. The 
leaves are said by Spon to yield 60 per cent of 
available fiber for half stuff', which makes a 
fairly good paper. 

Ischnosiphon spp. 

A genus of Marantacecv, and allied to plants 
in the old genus Maranta, which see. The Kew 
Mus. collections contain examples of Carab 
baskets, from Dominica, made of the split stems 
of /. arouma, and a suriana for carrying bur- 
dens on the back, made from the same material 
in British Guiana. Indian baskets are also 
made in the last-named country from the split 
stems of the Mucro, I. pturispicatus. I. ohliquus 
is another British Guiana species the fiber of 
which is used by the Indians. See Maranta. 



i-Tshanyela (Natal). 
coides. 



Athrixia phyll- 



Ischaemum angustifolium. 
Grass of India. 



Bhabue 




Fig. 6(5. 



-Bliabur grass, Ischcemuiu angus- 
tifolium. 



Endogen. Graminece. A perennial grass. 

A grass closely approaching the esparto in 
habit, and possessing the qualities requisite 
for paper manufacture which was first brought 
to notice by Dr. King, of the Royal Botanical 
Garden of Calcutta, in 1877, though at that time confounded with Eriojphorum comosum. 
The grass is used in paper making and in the manufacture of strings, ropes, and 
mats. (See fig. Q6.) For further description, cultivation, etc., see Die. Ec. Prod. 
Ind., Vol. IV, p. 526; Bull. Royal Gardens, Kew, 1888, p. 157. 

* Specimens. — Bot. Mus. PTarv. Univ. 

Isitebe mat (Natal). See Kyllinga elatior. 

Istle (Mex.). Commercial Tampico. See Agave heteracantha. 

Iturite fiber (see Ischnosiphon ohliquus). 

Itzle, the same as Istle. 

Ivory plant. Phytelephas macrocarpa. 

Iwaiwa (Hawaii). See Adiantum. 



204 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



Ixtle (Mex.). See Istle. 

See also Agave aurea. On the authority of R. de Zayas Enrique the name also 
applies to the fiber of Agave ixtle (= rigida) and has been applied to various Agaves 
and Bromelias mentioned in economic tiher literature. mescal, Agave wislizeni. 

Iyo (Yorubaland). The fiber of Eaphia vinifera. 
Jacitara (Braz.). See Desmojwus. 
Jaggery palm (Ceyl.). See Caryota urens. 
Jamaica Indian sorrel. Hibiscus sabdariffa. 





Fig. 



-The Paxinbn. Jriartea 
exorrldza. 



Fig. (58. — The Paxiuba-iuira. Iriartea 
setigera. 



Japanese matting rush, Bingo-i (Jap.). See Juncus effusus. 

Jara (Braz.). Leopold ini a pulchra. 

Jara assu (Braz.). Leopoldinia major. 

Jatoba (Braz.). Hymencea courbaril. 

Jauary (Braz. . See Astrocaryum jauarL 

Javas and Javasa (Turk.). Linum usitatissimum. 

Jayanti and Juyunti \Beng.). See Sesbania aculeata. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 205 

Jeete, Jettee, Jiti, and Chiti (Ind.). Marsdenia tenaeissima. 
Jenequen. Same as Henequen. Agave rigida. 
Jequitiba (Braz.). See Co ur atari. 
Jew's mallow, Jute (see Cor chorus). 
Jipijapa (Cent. Am.). See Garludovica palmata. 

Jocuiste majahua (Mex.). See Bromelia pinguin and Karatas pkimieri. 
Jolocin (Mex.). See Uelioearpus arbor escens. 
Jonote (Mex.). See Helioearpus americanus. 




ITig. 69.— Jubcea spectabilis, greenhouse plant. 

Jerusalem thorn. ParMnsonia aculeata. 
Jouze-hindie (Arab.). Cocos nueifera. 
Jubbulpore hemp (Ind.). See Grotalaria tenuifolia. 
Jubsea spectabilis. The Coquito Palm. 

Central Chile. A sweet sirup is formed from the sap of this palm, known as Miel 
de PaJma. The nuts are employed by Chilian confectioners as sweetmeats, and the 
natives use the leaves for thatching. (A. Smith.) (See fig. 69.) 

Jucca (It.) = Yucca. 

Juncus spp. The Bush Group. 

A large genus of Juncacece, which for the most part are marsh plants, and which 
are found in many countries. Their economic use is in the manufacture of mats or 
matting, though the representatives of allied genera are also used for these purposes. 



206 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



The rush matting of Spain is made from J. maritimus, and the same species is em- 
ployed for this purpose in Morocco. Savorgnan mentions three species: J. acutus, 
growing along the seaeoasts of Europe; ,/. canarierisis, used in brush and hroom 
manufacture; and J. conglomerates, employed for wicks of candle-. See fig, 72. 

The two latter, however, are now regarded as identical with J. effuaus. 

Juncus acutus. Basket Rush. 

A basket and mat rush of Italy. Specimens of this rush, in the form of basket 
material, has heen received by the Department from California, used in the Bnscolo 
or Bruscolo l.askets said to he imported from Italy. The word Kuscolo or Bruscolo, 
means, in Italian, "a slip of straw." These haskets are used chicly as receptacles 




Fig. 70.— Juncus acutus. 




Fig. 71.— The Japanese mat 
rush, Juncus effiusus. 



for crushed olive pulp, which is then placed under the press. The word Giunco 
means not only the species of Juncus, but is applied to similar sedge-like forms such 
as the Cyperace<r generally. Mats, coverings of bottles, baskets, etc, are enumerated 
amongthe manufactures from these sedges. Lygeum sparturh and Alfa, or Stipa i< nacis- 
sima, are also used in basket manufacture, the former being made into all kinds of 
baskets, which are exported from Italy to the United states, and many other countries. 

Juncus effusus. Bingo i Mat Rush of Japan. 

Syn. ,f mi rus communis. 

Endogen. ■fmicacew. A rush, 4 to 5 feet when under cultivation. | See fig. 71.) 
This species is distributed over a large part of the globe, being tin- candle rush of 
Europe, and a very common plant of wet ground in the United States 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



207 



Matting. — J. effusus is tlie Bingo-i mat rush of Japan, employed in the manufacture 
of the " Tatami-omote," or the handsomest and most costly mats used by the higher 
classes, while Cyperus loiitans is employed for the cheaper grades used by the com- 
mon people. The pith of the Bingo-i rush is also extensively used for lamp wicks. 

Cultivation. — The soil best suited for growing Bingo-i is of a clayey character 
containing a small proportion of gravel and resting upon a rather hard subsoil. The 
plants, from the stubble cut in the previous summer, are rooted out and dipped in a 
diluto urine for twenty-four hours, and then divided into bundles of about ten such 
shoots, which are transplanted in well-prepared and manured land, in the same man- 
ner as rice plants are transplanted in the paddy 
field. The distance from one bundle of the plants 
transplanted to another is about 4 sun — that is 
to say, a bundle of ten plants occupies 4 sun 
square of ground. The transplanting usually 
takes place in the month of October or Novem- 
ber, but in the warmer districts it may be as late 
as the beginning of January. After the trans- 
plantation the land is constantly watered as in 
rice fields and ordures and well-rotted farmyard 
manures are applied several times at due inter- 
vals, especially taking care to keep the land free 
from weeds. 

In the middle of July when fine, settled weather 
is anticipated the rushes are harvested by reaping 
them with a sharp sickle, and they are immedi- 
ately immersed in muddy water specially prepared 
in a small pond, by stirring in white clay, and 
then dried by spreading on grass land. The object 
of dipping the rushes into turbid water is to facil- 
itate the drying by the effect of the adhering clay, 
and at the same time to protect "Bingo-i" from 
other noxious dusts. The most important point 
in harvesting Bingo-i is to pay great attention to 
the condition of the weather, for it is necessary 
in obtaining a superior quality to dry the reaped 
rushes as quickly as possible, not exceeding more 
than two days, otherwise they depreciate greatly 
in quality and value. 

The largest importer of these mats is the United 
States, England, Austria, and Germany following 
in the order named. The qualities made are named 
as follows : Kinkwanyen, manufactured at Oka- 
yama. First quality Aya-mushiro, second quality 

Aya-mushiro, Damask Aya-mushiro, common Aya-mu&hiro, manufactured at Bittiu. 
First quality Somewake-mushiro, common .Somewake-mushiro, Damask Hana- 
mushiro, common Hana-mushiro, manufactured at Bingo. Ordinary Hana-mushiro 
(best quality) manufactured at Chikugo. 

Juncus pauciflorus. The Sheathed Bush. 

Syn. Juncus vaginatus. 

Quite common in Victoria^ where there are two forms. "One variety does not 
exceed 2 feet, while the other often attains a height of 5 feet." (Christy.) 

Structural Fiber. — Two specimens from this rush were received from the Vic- 
torian collection, and are among the many fibers collected and prepared by Dr. 
Guilfoyle. The plant is a native of Victoria and grows abundantly. It is regarded 
as a good fiber plant as well as an excellent paper stock, and the fiber is said to 




Fig. 72.— Juncus conglomeratus. 



208 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

make a good substitute for human hair. It is a strong growing nlant and is found 
extensively on the margins of lagoons and water courses. It is claimed that by 
boiling, this water rusb yields a strong fine liber. The museum specimens showed no 
such strength, however, as a twisted strand of the A'ictorian fibers was as easily 
broken as manila paper twine. 

Dr. Guilfoyle's Australasian liber list contains several other species of this genus: 
J. communis, the common candlerush (see Juncus effusus); J. maritimus, the sea or 
coast rush, which, under Ekman's process, is said to yield a promising fiber; J. 
pallidiis, which can be obtained in vast quantities in the Australian colonies, is also 
named as a valuable paper stock with J. prismatocarpus. 

* Specimens. — Mas. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Jungli (Beng.). See Agave americana. 
Juniperus occidentalis. Juniper,. 

Exogen. Conifercs. A tree, 18 to 40 feet. 

Eastern Washington and Oregon to California, and south, along the high ridges of 
the Sierra Nevada, between 7,000 and 10,000 feet elevation, to the San Bernardino 
Mountains. 

Bast Fiber. — Dr. Fewkes informs the Department that this species is found on 
the mesas, and that the bark is used by the Hopi Indians, without weaving, for 
breech clouts. There is little doubt that in olden times garments were made from 
this fiber by these people that were used in their religious ceremonials. 

Dr. Palmer states that the fibrous bark of J. califomica var. utahensis, a tree 20 or 
25 feet in height, is made into saddles, breech clouts, shirts, and sleeping mats, by 
the Pai-Ute Indians. 

Jupati (Braz.). See Rapliia vinifera. 

Jussareira (Braz.) Euterpe oleracea. 

Juta (It. )= Jute. 

Jute of India. See Gorchorus olitorius and capsularis; of China. 

See Abut Hon avieennce. 

Kabong (Malay). See Arenga saccharifera. 

Kadi (Pers.). See Tandanus. 

Kadia (see Sid a retusa). 

Kadsura japonica. 

This species belongs to a genus of dicotyledonous plants of the Magnoliacew, 
which are climbing mucilaginous shrubs, indigenous to tropical Asia. K. japonica 
from Japan and the East Indies yields a fiber, derived from the bark, which is said 
by Savorgnan to be held in high esteem for its tenacity and whiteness. 

Kajang, mats of (see Xipa fruticans). 

Kakarally (Br. Guian.). Lecythis ollaria. 

Kali (Timor). See Borassus. 

Kalnan (Ind.)= Agave. 

Kama-kher (Beng.). Androjpogon nardus. 

Kan (Tuc, Maya). Agave rigida. 

Kanghi (Hind.). See Abutilon indicum. 






DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 209 

JfKankhura (Beng.). See Boehmeria nivea. 

I'lapa (Pacif. Is.). See Broussonetia papyrifera. 

Kapas and Kaipas (Ind., Java, etc.) = Cotton. See Gossypium. 

Kapok and Kapok floss tree (Java). See Eriodendron anfractuosum. 

Karatas plumieri. 

Syn. Nidularium (Bromelia) karatas. 
Endogen. Bromeliaceo?. Aloe-like leaf cluster. 

Common names. — Mexican fiber, silk grass, and silk grass of Honduras (also given 
to other species), wild pineapple. 

Common throughout tropical America, though has not been detected in Trinidad. 
Leaves 8 to 10 feet long, armed with recurved teeth or spines. Abundant in Jamaica, 
but the fiber used sparingly. This is one of the three or four species of Bromelia, 
the fiber of which has doubtless been confused with that of Bromelia sijlvestris in 
collections made twenty-five or thirty years ago. This may be the species that J. 
McLeod Murphy sent to this Department in 1869, under the name Bromelia sylvestris 
(which see), as his economic descriptions in part may apply to the Karatas. 

Botanical description. — K. plumieri>E. Morren in Belg. Hort., 1872, 131; Antoine 
Brom. 35, t. 21-22 (M.D.). Bromelia karatas Linn. (Plum. Amer. Gen., t. 33); Jacq. 
Amer. Pict., t. 260, fig. 24; Hort. Yind. i, t. 32-33, III, t. 74. Nidularium karatas 

Lemaire. Acaulescent. Leaves 30 to 40 in a dense rosette, rigid, spreading, 

ensiform, 4 to 8 feet long, 1-J- to 2 inches broad low down, narrowed gradually to the 
tip, green and glabrous on the face, persistently white-lepidote and finely lineate on 
the back, armed with large pungent hooked marginal prickles. Flowers about 50 
in a dense sessile central capitulum, at first 3 to 4 inches finally 6 to 8 inches diameter, 
surrounded by reduced ensiform inner leaves tinged with red; flower- bracts scariose, 
oblauceolate, 2\ to 3 inches long. Ovary cylindrical-trigonous, L} inches long, 
clothed, like the bracts and sepals, with loose brown tomentum; sepals linear, per- 
manently erect, an inch long. Petals reddish, glabrous, exserted one-fourth to one- 
third inch beyond the tip of the sepals, united in a tube toward the base. Fruit 3 
to 4 inches long, 1 inch diameter, pale yellow, with an eatable white pulp, tapering 
from the middle to both ends. Seeds globose, dull brown, vertically compressed, 
one-sixth inch diameter. 

Structural Fiber. — Dr. Morris says of this species: "A well-known and valuable 
fiber plant, said to be used by the Indians in making the finest hammocks in Central 
America, Guiana, and Brazil." In the young leaves the fiber is said to be fine and 
white, though growing coarser with increasing maturity. 

Locally the fiber is used for bowstrings, nets, fishing lines, ropes, mats, sacking, 
and clothing. After being passed over the comb or hackles of a flax mill it has been 
pronounced greatly superior to Kussian flax and equal to the best Belgian for appli- 
cation to the finest textile fabrics. Fiber which was useless for spinning or rope- 
making would probably yield very superior paper stock. The plants are of a most 
prolific nature, growing spontaneously in almost all kinds of soil and climate. Cul- 
tivation in its native land is therefore extremely simple, and it is surprising that the 
plant has not recieved more attention from planters in America and our colonies. The 
Indians cultivate the plant to some extent in Mexico, 1,221 gardens being recorded 
in 1830. They generally select forest for this purpose, removing the undergrowth by 
cutting and burning. The roots of old plants are then set out at 5 to 6 feet apart, 
and at the end of a year yield leaves fit for cutting. The leaves vary in size from 
6 to 8 feet long and from \\ to 4 inches wide, and are thin in proportion. In a wild 
state the leaves are edged with thorns, but these are diminished in size and number 
by cultivation. The fiber contained in the leaves varies in quality, according to age; 
in young leaves the fiber is fine and white; with increasing age it becomes longer and 
12247— No. 9 14 



210 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

coarser. Tlie native implements for extracting - the fiber are exceedingly rude — a fiat 
board and a heavy iron knife. No special machine seems to have been invented for 
the preparation of this fiber; but its close resemblance to the fibers of the agaves 
and that of the edible pineapple (see Ananas sativa) would indicate the applica- 
bility of existing leaf liber machines. See Appendix A. After the fust crop the leaves 
grow again, but the fiber subsequently produced is short and of bad color. (Spon.) 
K. Jiumilis, according to J. H. Hart, grows plentifully in Trinidad, but the fiber is 
not employed. 

Karimgunji Jute (Ind.). See Cor chorus. 

Karpasi (Sansc.). Cotton. Gossypium. 

Kat-kati (Ind.). See Grew i a villosa. 

Kattan (Arab.). Linum usitatissimum. 

Kattu-una (Oeyl.). See Bambusa. 

Kattii-kapet (Afr.). Sansevieria lanuginosa. 

Kehal (Oeyl.). Musa sapientum. 

Kel and Kela (Bomb.). Idem. 

Kelpo (Java.). Cocos nucifera. 

Kenab (Arab.). See Cannabis sativa. 

Kendong (Java). Broussonetia papyri/era. 

Kenda (Bomb.). See Pandanus. 

Kenna (Ind.). Crotalaria retusa. 

Keratto (Jam.). See Agave morrisii. 

The Keratto of the Leeward Islands is Agave pohjantlia, according to Dr. Morris. 

Keya and Ketki-keya (Beng.). Pandanus odoratissimus. 

Khan (Ind.). Saccharum spontaneum. 

Khas (Hind.) and Khasakhasa (Bomb.). See Andropogon squarro&us. 

Khatmi, Kanji, Khubazi, etc., (Ind.). Malm sylvestris. 

In reviewing the many vernacular names of this plant, in India, Dr. AV.att says 
that all the provincial names have been derived from the Persian Kangai or Eangoi 
and probably refer to Abutilon. 

Khirva (Arab.). Rlcinus. 

Khujar (Pers.). Luffa wgyptica. 

Kian pak-kian 

" Body cloth made of very fine shreds of bamboo, passed between the teeth, and bit- 
ten until they become quite soft and fit for weaving. It is the only article of dress 
worn by the inhabitants of Celebes. ; ' (Off. Guide, Kew Mus. ) A specimen is shown 
in the Kew Mus. that was made especially for the Rajah. 

Kie-kie (New Zea.). Freycinetia banksii. 

Kiki (Egypt). Bicinus. 






DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 211 

Killut ( Hina. j . Saccharum fuscum. 
King-ma (China). Sida retusa. 
Kinkivanyen mats, of Japan. Cyperus unitans. 
Kiimab (Arab.). Cannabis sativa. 
Kirindi-wel (Ceyl.). Rourea santaloides. 
Kitaibelia vitifolia. 

Ainalvaceous plant peculiar to Hungary and sometimes found in English gardens. 

Fiber. — Derived from the bark, and sometimes called Hungarian liemp. "From 
the fiber cloth is made not inferior to that from flax." (Savorgnan.) I can find no 
other reference to the use of fiber from this plant. 

Kittool, Kittul (Ceyl.). See Caryota urens. 

Kleinhovia hospita. 

Exogen. Sterculiacece. A tree. 

The species is a low branching tree, a native of the Malay Archipelago, extending 
eastward to the Solomon Isles. Its bruised leaves are said to exhale a perfume simi- 
lar to that of the violet. The genus consists of but the one species. 

Fiber. — A specimen of the fiber was received through the Smithsonian Institution 
in 1869, without data. It is similar in appearance to Ochroma, and of so slight 
tenacity that it can only be mentioned as fibrous material. 

In the islands of the Indian Ocean the bark is used for making cordage and fish- 
ing nets. It is customary for the people to plant this species near their rural habi- 
tations for use in their agricultural pursuits, as it is adapted to all sorts of tying and 
binding and to uses requiring long, pliant twigs. They are quite superior to Salix 
for tying. (Manual Hoepli.) 

Klooi (Siam.). See Boehmeria nivea. 

Kniphofia spp. (See Tritoma). 

Kodzu, Kozo (Jap.). Broussonetia papyrifera. 

Ko hemp (Jap.). See Pueraria. 

Konapli (Bus.). Cannabis sativa. 

Kongangu (Austr.). See Pipturus. 

Konje (Zambesi). Sansevieria guineensis. 

The fiber is known as Konje hemp. * 

Konkan hemp (Ind.). See Crotalaria. 
Konope (Pol.). Cannabis sativa. 
Koosa (Ind.). Andropogon squarrosus. 
Korako. New Zealand flax. See Phormium. 
Koug-kuombi (Ind.). Bixa orellana. 
Kowl, of Liotard (Ind.). Carey a arbor ea. 
Kozo (Jap.). Broussonetia papyr if era. 
Krowa (Br. Guian.). See Croivia. 



212 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

KLuda (Ind.). See HymenoMetyon. 

Kuhila (Ind.). See JSschynomene. 

Kukul-wel (Geyl.). See Calamus radiatus. 

Kumbi, Kumbya, Kumbha, etc., (Ind.). Gareya arborea. 

The uame Kumbi is also employed for Cochlospcrmum yossypium in several pro 
inces of India, in connection with others. 

Kurakkan (Ind.). Ulcus ine coracana. 

Kurrijong (N. S. W.). Commersonia fraseri. 

Kurtam ussul (Arab.). Grossypium. 

Kuta (Fiji Is.). JEleocharis interstincta. 

Kutan, or tukhme-katan (Pers.). Linum usitatissimum. 

Kydia calycina. 

Exogen. Malvacew. Bush or small tree. 

Subtropical India and Burma. The Himalayas up to 2,000 feet elevation. 

Fiber. — "The inner hark yields a hast fiber, used for coarse ropes, etc. In point 
of cellulose, and in power of resistance to hydrolysis, Kydia fiber is fairly useful, 
being about twentieth in order of merit of a list of some 300 fibers met within India." 
( Watt.) The fiber, known as Warang bast, resembles the bast of tbe European lime 
tree, Tilla europcea. Savorgnan states that the bark, used in strips, can be applied 
to all purposes for which Tilia americana is employed. 

Kyllinga elatior. 

xV cyperaceous plant found in Natal. There are nearly 50 species in the genus, 
natives of Brazil, South Africa, and Australia. 

Structural Fiber. — Like all plants of this group the culms are employed in mat 
making. The mats of Natal, from this species, are called Jsitebe. 

Lace. See Appendix 0. 

Lace bark, of W. Ind., Lagetta lintearia; of New Zea., Plagi- 

antlius betulinus. See also Daphnopsis. 

Lagetta lintearia. Lace Bark Tree. 

Exogen. TJiymeJaacecv. A tree, 25 to 30 feet. 

This is the well-known lace-bark tree of Jamaica, the bark of which is found in 
all fiber collections. The plant is said to be cultivated in Great Britain, in green- 
houses, though only as a curiosity. 

Fiber. — Derived from the inner bark, which can be readily detached in sheets or 
layers, like the layers of bark from the paper birch. It is suited to the most deli- 
cate textile purposes. " "When carefully drawn out or stretched by tbe hands a 
pentagonal and hexagonal mesh is formed, in every respect like lace, and many 
ornamental things are made from it." (Fatvcett.) 

" It is reported that Charles II received as a present from the governor of Jamaica, 
a cravat, frill, and pair of ruffles, made of this material ; and to this day it is used 
for bonnets, collars, and other articles of apparel, specimens of which may be seen 
at tbe Kew Mus., etc. The uses to which this natural lace is applied are not always 
so unobjectionable as those just mentioned, for it is likewise used in the manufacture 
of thongs and whips, with which, in former times at least, the negroes were beaten 
by their cruel taskmasters." (Dr. Masters.) 

Savorgnan names L. funifera, now Funifera utilis as a South American species 
known as Mahot-pincet. This author states that cordage of great resistance is made 
from the bark. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 213 

Lagunaria patersonii. Norfolk Island Cow-itch Tree. 

Exogen. Malvacccc. Allied to Hibiscus. 
This beautiful shrubby tree is indigenous in Queensland and Norfolk Island, and 
is closely related to Hibiscus. The fiber sample was prepared by. Dr. Guilfoyle 
(Victoria, Phil. Int. Exh., 1876), who accompanied it with a statement that it was 
suitable for manufacturing paper of a superior quality, samples of which were also 
presented, and for ropes, strong cordage, fine matting, and basket work. The iiber 
is line, strong, and glossy, although the specimen can hardly be said to compare 
with Sida rhombifolia in any one of these particulars. 

Lal-ambari (Bomb.). Hibiscus sabdariffa. 

Lal-murga (Beng.). Gelosia cristata. 

Lamba (Borneo). Cloth from Curculigo latifolia 

Lana de Enea (Venez.). Typha angustifolia. 

Lana del Tambor (Venez.). See Bombax eumanensis. 

Langue Bceuf (Trin.). Furcrcea cubensis. 

Lantern flower ( Austr.). Fiber of. See Abutilon molle. 

Laportea canadensis. 

This species of TJrticacece, found in many localities of the United States, is one of 
the stinging nettles, and furnishes a fiber of average quality. Specimens of the 
stalks and fiber have been received by the Department from time to time, but with 
better native fiber species it only deserves a passing mention. It is sometimes called 
Indian hemp, as it has doubtless been used for cordage and thread by the North 
American Indians, but this is a misnomer. True Indian hemp is an Apocynum. 
This species is mentioned by Spon, under the name L. pustulata, who also says it is 
the only foreign nettle that will withstand the cold of the European winter. 

The fiber from this species, before the introduction of cotton, had an application 
more extensive than at present in Europe, where (particularly in Germany and in 
more northern countries) they manufactured the cloth called ortica (German, Nessel- 
tuch), or nettle cloth (Manual Hoepli). 

*Specimens. — Field Col. Mus. ; Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Laportea crenulata. Fever, or Devil's Nettle. 

An evergreen arborescent shrub found in Australia and India. Contact with its 
powerful stinging hairs causes excessive burning pains, which last for several days. 

Fiber. — This plant yields a strong useful fiber, used by the hill tribes of Assam 
for cordage and in the manufacture of a coarse cloth. Major Hannay, who was one 
of the first to bring the fiber to the notice of Europeans, stated that it was fine, 
white, apparently of no great strength, and by report not very lasting. Messrs. Cross, 
Bevan, and King, however, in their recent report on Indian fibers, appear to hold a 
more favorable opinion, stating that the fiber "is good, is more or less allied to 
rhea, and, like that fiber, is very strong." 

Laportea gigas. Gigantic Kettle Tree of Australia. 

Native name. — Goo-mao-mali. 
It is a native of New South Wales, and is very abundant on the McLeay and other 
northern rivers. In Bennett's "Wanderings of a Naturalist in Australia," the author 
states that the tree, when in full vigor, rises from its base by a series of buttresses 
of singularly regular outline, gradually tapering without a branch, to the height of 
120 to 140 feet ; the trunk then divides into a regularly formed, wide-spreading head, 
which excites admiration by its extraordinary size. The ordinary elevation of the 



214 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

tree is 25 to 50 feet. "The poisonous fluid secreted from the foliage is very power- 
ful, particularly in the younger leaves, and their sting is exceedingly virulent, pro- 
ducing great suffering." The tree is also indigenous in Queensland, and Dr. Gnilfoyle 
sends specimens of fiher from Victoria. 

Bast Fiher. — The fiher is very strong and fine, and suitable for fishing lines, etc. 
In New South Wales its fiber is made into cordage of considerable tenacity. The 
specimens were accompanied by a dilly bag made by an Australian aboriginal. The 
wood of this tree is soft and fibrous, and might be pulped up for fiber. It is claimed 
that the best and strongest fiber is obtained from the bark of the roots. The fiber 
is easily prepared and can be obtained in quantity. 

Larch (see Larix laricina). 

Lasiandra (see Tibouchina). 

Lardizabala biternata. 

Exogen. Berberidacea\ Twining shrubs. 

Resemble the Afcnispermacea', and are natives of the cooler regions of South 
America and China. The species named is from Chile. 

Woody Fiber. — "The stems, of enormous length, in Chile are dried and used as 
ropes. It would probably yield good, tough cordage fiber." (Spon.) 

Larix laricina. Larch. 

Syn. Larix americaiia. 

Exogen. Conifer cv,. A tree, 75 to 90 feet. 

Common names. — Tamarack, hackmatack, hacmac, swamp pine larch, red larch, 
black larch; N. Y. Indian name, Ka-neli-tens. 
"Northern Newfoundland, Labrador, Hudson Bay, northern shores of the Great 
Bear Lake and valley of the McKenzie River, within the Arctic Circle. Through 
Northern States to northern Pennsylvania, Indiana and Illinois, and central Missouri. 
Found on moist uplands and intervales, or southward in cold, wet swamps." (C. S. 
Sargent.) L T sed for &hip timber, railway ties, fence posts, telegraph poles, etc. 

Woody Fiber. — Dr. Havard states that the roots of this tree when split into long 
threads are a valuable material with the Chippeways, who make use of it for sewing 
the seams of their birch canoes. He also informs the writer that the roots of L. occi- 
dentalis, a Pacific States species, are employed by the Indians of the Yukon River 
for "basket kettles," which are woven very neatly, and ornamented Avith hair and 
with dyed porcupine quills. L. griffithii is an India species. 

Lasiosiphon eriocephalus. 

A small tree of India belonging to the Thymelwacece, known as Xaha, the bark of 
which has been recommended as a paper-making material. L. speciosus, found in the 
Deccan (Ind.), aud which furnishes the Remeta bast, is the same as L. eriocephalus. 
u The fibers are very strong and almost colorless." (Spon.) 

Latania aurea. 

This is a small genus of African palms growing to a height of 20 or 30 feet. L. aurea 
is found in Mauritius, Avhere the leaves have been employed for brushes aud brooms. 

L. commersonii is found in the Mascarene Islands, where the leaves are employed 
in the manufacture of hats. Its fruit is about the size of an apple and is eaten by 
the negroes. 

Lavatera arborea. Tree Mallow. 

Exogen. 3falvacea\ Large shrub, 3 to 4 feet. 
The species of this genus for the most part are found in Europe, western Asia, and 
Australia. L. arborea is common in southwestern Europe, growing on the rocks on 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 215 

seacoaat. Is grown in Madeira, and found in a wild state on the coasts of England 
and Ireland. Naturalized around Melbourne. 

Eiber. — "The inner bark yields a strong liber, somewhat coarse, but capable of 
manufacture into cords, ropes, and mats" (Spon). " Has lately been recommended 
for culture as a fiber plant, but the quality of the fiber is not good." (A. Smith.) Dr. . 
Guilfoyle states that the fiber is highly recommended for paper stock. The tree 
attains a height of 8 to 10 feet in cultivation. 

L. maritima, the sea mallow, another south European species similar to the above, 
has been introduced into Australia. Of its value Thomas Christy says : " Worthy of 
cultivation on a large scale for the very beautiful and excellent quality of its fiber." 
"A fine fiber 3 to 4 feet long." (Dr. Guilfoyle.) Savorgnan states that it is sponta- 
neous in the environs of " Nice, in western Liguria, in Sardinia," etc. Cortical fiber, 
tenacious, used for cordage. Abundant, and the fiber does not deteriorate in salt 
water. Adapted to coarse hemp cables and marine uses. 

L. cretica according to the same authority, is found on the Tuscan seacoast, where 
it is known as Malva di Candia. Its coarse, strong fiber has also been used for mak- 
ing cordage. L. flava is found in Sicily and northern Africa, and the fiber is fully 
equal to the preceding. L. punctata is another European species from which Cazz- 
nola extracted excellent fiber in 1875. 

Lavatera plebeia. Australian Mallow. 

South Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales. "Successfully tried for rope 
and paper making." S. L. Swaab states that the species was brought into notice by 
Mr. Alex. Talmer of south Australia, who sent a quantity of the fiber to England, 
where it was made into a good paper. Appears in Spon as L. plebeja. ' ' Is employed 
by the natives (of Australia) for baskets and fishing lines." 

Another Australian species, a perennial evergreen, also found in south Europe, is 
L. trimestris, known as the velvet mallow. "It supplies from its bark a substance 
not unlike white horsehair and quite as useful for many purposes." (Guilfoyle.) 
Christy says the fiber can not be distinguished from that of L. arborea. 

Layu (Peru) = Ficus. 

Leaf fiber. 

The structural fibers extracted from fleshy-leaved plants such as the Agaves, etc. 
The same as "structural" fiber, in the classification. See page 25. 

Leather plant (New Zea.). Celmisia coriacea. 

Leatherwood (IT. S.). Direct palustris. 

Lechuguilla (Mex.). See Agave lieteracantha. 

Lecythis ollaria. Monkey Pot. 

Endogen. Myrtacece. Large tree. 

This genus is chiefly confined to Venezuela, British Guiana, and Brazil, and 
embraces 30 or 40 species. Many of them are large trees growing to a height of 80 
feet or more. They bear a hard, woody fruit, some of the seeds or nuts being edible, 
such as the Sapucaia nuts, from Para. The inner bark of the species is composed of 
paper-like layers, which can be removed in strips. 

Fiber. — Specimens of the bast of L. ollaria were received from the exhibit of 
British Guiana (W. C. E., 1893), known as Kalcarally. As many as 100 layers of this 
bast have been taken from a piece of the bark of this species, the operation being 
hastened by beating. The ribbons of bast are used by the Indians of Brazil for 
cigarette wrappers, and in British Guiana, for cordage and basket work. An 
unnamed species, from the British Guiana exhibit, labeled "IFtna," is used for the 
same purposes. Another specimen of this fiber, named Wadaduri, and used for 
paper making was submitted to Dr. Ernst, who states in his manuscript notes that 



216 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



it is obtained from /.. grandiflora, and likewise from /.. crassinoda. In Venezuela, 
L. coriacea is known as Marima colorada. The fiber of a Brazilian species without 
name is said by Saldanha da Gama to he used for calkin- vessels. The hark of 
another species growing abundantly throughout the Amazon region, and known as 
Maid-maid, yields an oakum that is excellent for calking canoes, according To a cata- 
logue of Woods of Amazon. W. C. E., 1893. 

Leopoldinia piassaba. Monkey Bass. 
Endogen. Palmer. Palm, 15 to 40 feet. 
This tree grows abundantly near the White River, which flows into the Barra de 

Rio Negro, as well as on some of 
the tributaries of the Orinoco; 
it i- also found in the Amazon 
basin ; but the bulk of its liber 
comes from the Barra de Rio 
Negro. Its habitat is low, 
sandy Hats, where water may 
stand a little in rainy weather; 
but it avoids swamps. (Spon.) 
One of the Brazilian palms 
which supplies the commercial 
Piassaba, or Piaraba fiber now 
exported in such quantities. 
Two species furnish the com- 
mercial product, L. piassaba, 
the Para fiber, and Altalea funi- 
fera, the Bahia fiber, though in 
recent years another form has 
been sent from the west coast of 
Africa, known as West African 
Bass, Paplua vimfera. See also 
Borassus flabeUifcr and Dicti/o- 
sperma fibrosum. 

Structural Fiber.— Lcopol- 
(liaia jiiassaba. "The dilate 
margins of the petioles, where 
they clasp the stem, are produced into long ribbon-like strips, which afterwards 
split into fine, somewhat round fibers, about 5 to 6 feet long, entirely concealing 
the stem. These fibers, cleaned and combed by hand, form the piassaba of com- 
merce."' (Dr. Morris.) 

The commercial fiber is used for brush making, and for brooms, though the natives 
employ it for cables, ropes, baskets, hats, as a tie material, and for other purposes. 
* Specimens of heavy cordage from this species were received from the Brazilian 
exhibit of the Phil. Int. Exh., 1876, which are now in the museum of the Depart- 
ment. The Para "Bass" is said to absorb more water than the Bahia. The Para 
fiber now forms less than 5 per cent of the piassaba of commerce, and commands a 
high price. 

Lepidosperma flexuosum. The Slender Sword Rush. 

Endogen. ( 'yperaa a . 

Found in Victoria and Tasmania. Several species of this genus have been enu- 
merated as fiber-producing plants, fiber having been prepared from them. 

Structural Fiber. — A specimen of the fiber of L. flexuosum was secured from the 
Victorian collection, Phil. Int. Exh., 187G. It is exceedingly brittle, and can only 
be used in mats or similar articles, where it can be coarsely plaited. According to 
Dr. Guilfoyle, the material can be had in large quantities, and is extensively used 
by the aborigines for baskets, mats, etc. lie states that "under proper treatment 




Fig. 73. 



I/ 1 I:'. 

-The Para Piassaba palm, Leopoldinia piassaba . 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 217 

it yields a fiber of good quality," though the'present sample would hardly verify the 
statement. It might, however, he used in paper making, though at best it is a poor 
"fiber." 

At the same time an example of L. elatius was received, both specimens having 
been prepared by Dr. Guilfoyle. This is a much better and stronger fiber than 
the preceding, and would prove useful for making many kinds of coarse cordage. 
The leaves and flower stalks of the plant grow to a height of 9 feet in Victoria, and 
the plant is found in great abundance, and can be had iu large quantities. It fur- 
nishes a pulp for paper making, and is used in various" ways by the natives. This 
specimen is also from the Victorian collection (Phil. Int. Exh., 1876), and was pre- 
pared by Dr. Guilfoyle. Christy says it is an excellent paper plant. It yields its 
fiber by boiling. 

Lepidosperma gladiatum. Coast Sword Rush. 

Native of Australia and Tasmania, where it grows in great abundance on the coast 
lands. Will supply an annual crop, the roots throwing out fresh shoots. Spon says 
it is used by the natives for baskets and fishing lines, and suggests that its only 
industrial use will probably be paper making, "for which purpose it is considered 
equal to esparto." 

L. squamatum is another Australian species, used for mats by the natives of the 
Wimmera. southeast Australia. L. filiforme is also employed by these people for 
basket manufacture. 

Lepironia mucronata. 

A cyperaceous plant found in Madagascar, tropical Asia, and Polynesia. One of 
the mat fibers of China. Such mats are made by the Chinese boatmen to cover their 
cargoes ; also used for bags. A mat of fine workmanship, probably from this species, 
is preserved in the Kew Mus., made in Korea; obtained from the King's palace. 

* Sxjec'imens. — U. S. Nat. Mus.; Bot. Mus. Harv. Univ. 

Leptadenia spartum. 

Exogen. Asclejriadacecu. A glabrous shrub. 

Panjrib and Sind, in India. Arabia, Egypt, and Senegambia. An imported fodder 
plant, also used for thatching. The species are "erect leafless shrubs or twiners 
furnished with leaves, all having a grayish tomentum covering stems and leaves." 
(Treas. Botany.) 

Bast Fiber. — Mentioned in Die. Ec. Prod. Iud. ; Vol. IV, as "much used in Sind for 
making ropes to bring up water from wells, as water does not rot it." 

Liabum ignarium. 

An exogenous plant, a native of Quito, which Spon states has afforded a good 
fiber. (Spon Enc, pt. 3, p. 919.) 

Liane a cordes (Fr.). Bignonia viminalis. 

Ligustrum vulgar e. Privet. 

Of this genus there are about twenty representatives, in Europe, northern India, 
China, and Japan. Belongs to the Oleacece. 

"A shrub used for hedges. In March it produces white, fragrant blossoms, similar 
to those of the olive. The leaves produce a yellow or green tint for dyeing. The 
branches are used for constructing cages for birds where fowlers set their traps." 

Lime tree of Europe. Tilia europwa-, of South America, 

Apeiba tibourbou. 

Lin (Fr.). Flax. See Linum. 

Linden (see Tilia). 



218 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



Lino ( Span.) = Flax. 

Lino d'India (It.). Asclepias fruticosa. 

num mains. 



rfei Muri. Antirrhi- 



Linum spp. 

Exogens. Linacece. Small herbs or shrubs. 

The representatives of the geuns Linum are distributed over Loth hemispheres, 

though they are chiefly natives of temperate climates. While L. usitatissimum i- 

considered the cultivated fiber species, botanists recognize upward of 100 species in 

this genus, De Candolle describing 54 in the first volume of his Prodromns. In many 

instances the distinctions between these 
species are so slight that the agriculturist or 
the industrialist would scarcely recognize 
them, and they are therefore of botanical 
rather than economic interest. Renouard, 
in Etudes sur le Culture du Lin., refers to the 
fact that our gardens sometimes contain three 
varieties which differ greatly : Two species 
with yellow flowers, the Linum trigynum 
(Beinwardtia trigyna), originating in India; 
and the Linum campanulatum, which comes 
from southern Europe and from Egypt; also 
one with red flowers, the Linum grandiflorum. 
And plants with white flowers and flesh- 
colored flowers are sometimes seen. There 
are still others known by name only, as the 
species is very rare : such is the Linum cathar- 
ticum the leaves of which have a bitter taste 
ana are sometimes employed as a purgative. 
But among all these varieties the blue flower- 
ing, still designated by the name of Lin com- 
mun, ortheZ. usitatissimum of the naturalists, 
is the only industrial species and the only 
one really cultivated. In the grouping of 
species two general divisions have been made : 
Those having yellow flowers and those with 
flowers blue, flesh-color, pink or white, 
though a special distinction is made in regard 
to L. catharticum, " with flowers always white 
and leaves opposite.' 7 L. usitaiissimum conies 
into the group having blue, white, pink, or 
flesh-colored flowers, though as far as the cul- 
tivation of these plants for commercial fiber 
is concernedit is the only speciesthat interests 
us. Regardinu the distinctions which separate the species of Linum, Renouard says: 
But these are so subtle that they evidently have no bearing upon the industrial uses of 
the flax and are of no value to agriculture. Often the most experienced operator and 
the countryman most familiar with this culture have had much trouble to classify 
the plants as above indicated. Moreover all these species may he obtained from one 
sort of seed. What has given rise to these distinctions is that when the flax does 
not appear all in one growth of stem, slender at the top and without branches, bear- 
ing one flower, it may remain short and ramify its stalk into a number of branches 
having several flowers and considerable seed. It is under this aspect that we see the 
plant designated as " tetard" (pollard or branched also called pi tit Jin small or low 




Fig. 74. — The ancient flax plant, Linum 
angustifolium. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 219 

flax) in contrast with the ordinary flax called grand tin (tall flax). Besides the above 
facts we may say that there have never been seen either entire lields or even parts of 
fields growing- only the tetard, or the low flax. AVe therefore hold it to be inoppor- 
tune to make such classification of the common flax into industrial species. 

Some writers recognize L. crepitans as a cultivated species, this form growing less 
tall than usitatissimum, with much thicker stems which have the tendency of branch- 
ing, and more abundant flowers, and therefore producing more seed. In a report 
from Consul T. E. Heenan at Odessa, it is stated that "Linum usitatissimum, L. 
vulgare, and L. crepitans, are being cultivated in Russia in several varieties of both 
kinds, but the difference in these varieties is so slight and they so easily blend that 
even those initiated in the trade of the article often fail to perceive it." 

Several other forms of flax are mentioned by industrial authorities, but they are 
of little importance. L. perenne, which is known commonly as perennial flax, has 
been the subject of experiment, but beyond the fact that it is mentioned doubtfully 
as an oil plant in India, it does not concern us. 

The most ancient cultivated species of flax is thought to be L. angustifolium, a 
form found growing wild from the Canary Isles to Palestine and the Caucasus. 
This is the species said to have been grown by the Swiss Lake dwellers and the 
ancient inhabitants of the north of Italy, while L. usitatissimum was the ancient 
flax of Mesopotamia, Assyria, and Egypt. 

" These two principal forms or conditions of flax exist in cultivation and have 
probably been wild in their modern areas for the last five thousand years at least. 
It is not possible to guess at their previous condition. Their transitions and vari- 
eties are so numerous thai they may be considered as one species comprising two or 
three hereditary A r arieties, which are each again divided into subvarieties." (Die. 
Ec. Prod. Ind., Vol. V.) 

In the United States two species of flax are used for fiber, L. lewisii by the North 
American Indians, and L. usitatissimum, in commercial cultivation largely for seed, 
but to some extent for fiber. There are other American species of Linum, but they 
have no economic interest. 

Linum angustifolium. Flax op the Stone Age. 

The species of flax cultivated in Europe in prehistoric ages. See this species in 
the chapter on ancient fibers, page 11. See also second and third paragraphs above 
and first paragraph under L. usitatissimum. (See fig. 71.) 

Linum lewisii. Kocky Mountain Flax. 

This species has a wide range in subarid western North America, extending from 
southern Alaska and the plains of western British America southward through the 
Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevada region to the higher plateaus of southern Cali- 
fornia, western Texas, and northern Mexico. The plant differs from the common 
cultivated flax, in producing usually two or three stems from its stout perennial root 
and in having a capsule two or three times as long as the calyx. The Indians of the 
Oregon plains make it into a remarkably strong twisted cord, used in the manufac- 
ture of fish nets, in the binding of grass mats and basket frames, and for other pur- 
poses. (F. P. Coville.) 

Linum usitatissimum. Cultivated Flax. 

Common and native names.— Flax (Eng.) ; Lin (Ft.); Flaclis (Ger.) ; Lino (Span. 

and It.) ; Tisi (Hind, and Beng.) ; Alsi (Hind.) ; Javas, Javasa, Ziggar (Turk.) ; 

Kattan (Arab.) ; Zaghu and zaghir, and Kutan or tukhme-Jcatin (Pers.), etc. 

Supposed to have originated in Eastern countries. "Thus the first Egyptian 

white race may have imported the cultivation of flax, or their immediate successors 

may have received it from Asia before the epoch of the Phoenician colonies in Greece, 

and before direct communication was established between Greece and Egypt under 

the fourteenth dynasty. A very early introduction of the plant into Egypt from 



220 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



Asia does not prevent ns from admitting that it was at different times taken from the 
East to the West at a later epoch than that of the first Egyptian dynasties. Thus 
the western Aryans and the Phoenicians may have introduced into Europe a flax 
more advantageous than L. angusiifolium during the period from 2,500 to 1,200 years 
before our era." /'< Candolle. See fig. 75. 

The flax plant is now widely distributed throughout the world. It is cultivated 
in temperate North America, to a slight extent in portion- of South America, espe- 
cially in Argentina (though more for seed than for fiber). It is produced commer- 
cially to a greater or less extent in Great Britain, Ireland, especially Sweden. Hen- 
mark. Holland. Belgium, France, Russia, Germany, Austria. Spain, and Portugal. It 
has heen introduced into Algeria and into Xatal, and its cultivation was old in Egypt 

at the dawn of the Christian era. In India 
large tracts are under cultivation, though 
more for the seed crops than for fiher. Japan 
has introduced its cultivation commercially, 
and it has been experimented with in the 
Australian colonies, where there is a wide 
range of soil and climate suited to its growth. 
History of ft, ax culture ix America. — 
A perusal of the historical records in this coun- 
try shows that flax culture was one of the ear- 
liest of colonial industries, and we may he sure 
that the Puritau maidens, like the Greek maids 
of old. were familiar with the spinning and 
weaving of flax, if not with the spindle and 
distaff of Homeric times, for until compara- 
tively recent years the culture and manufac- 
ture of llax in America have heen household 
indt;stries. 

The American colonists brought with them 
the art of raising flax and of preparing and 
spinning it by hand, and even fifty years ago 
the custom prevailed among farmers of grow- 
ing fiax and having it retted, scutched, hac- 
kled, and spun hy memhers of their household. 
In the history of Lynn. Mass.. it is stated that 
about the year 1630 "they raised considerable 
quantities of llax. which was retted in one of 
the ponds, thence called Flax Pond.'* As early 
as 1662 the State of Virginia enacted that each 
poll district should raise annually and man- 
ufacture 6 pounds of linen thread. All the 
records of New England likewise give evidence 
of an earnest desire to promote the cultivation 
of llax and irs manufacture. "About 1718 a number of colonists arrived from Lon- 
donderry, bringing with them manufacture of linen and other implements used in 
Ireland. The matter was earnestly taken up by the Bostonians. and a vote passed 
to establish a spinning school on the waste land in front of Captain Southack's, 
about where Scollay's buildings were.*' About 1721, at Newport. R. I., •'hemp or 
flax used to be received in payment of interest, the former at $<1. and the latter at 
lOd. per pound."* Pennsylvania offered premiums for several grades of linen thread 
in 1753, and the Society for the Promotion of Arts. Agriculture, and Economy, of New 
York, after adopting resolutions to arrest the importation of British goods, offered 
premiums for linen thread. The early records of Rhode Island develop further inter- 
esting facts concerning an association of plantation maidens about 17G6. The order 
was known as the Daughters of Liberty. It- origin is ascribed to l>r. Brown, at 




Fig. 



-Common llax, 
mum . 



Linn. in U8i atissi- 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 221 

whose house eighteen young- ladies "belonging to prominent families in Providence 
assembled by invitation and employed the time from sunrise to evening in spin- 
ning." (A. B. Turner, jr.) 

The statistical records show that sixty-odd years ago almost three-quarters of a 
million pounds of flax fiber were produced in the United States, and flax was sent 
to market from Connecticut sixty years ago that was strong, clean, and as good as 
any raised in tbe United States at the present time. Very strong and flexible flax 
also came from northern Xew York and Vermont, but it was not clean. The poorest 
flax of those days came from New Jersey, though the State has been capable of 
growing flax equal to Archangel. In past time "North River" flax was regularly 
sent to market from New York State, it being very strong, hut poorly cleaned. 

The figures for flax fiber in the year 1869 show a product of over 13,000 tons, but 
this does not mean fine line, but the coarser fiber, or tow, used in the manufacture of 
bagging, for this period marks the highest point reached in fiber product before the 
collapse of the industry a year or two later, owing to the free introduction of jute 
for cotton-bagging manufacture. 

At the present time flax is largely grown in the United States for seed, the straw, 
of inferior quality, when used at all, going to the tow mills or the paper mills, and 
worth from $1 to $8 a ton, the average in different sections being not more than $2.50 
to $4. In the older States the area under present cultivation is very small and 
steadily decreasing; in the newer States, or States where agriculture is being pushed 
steadily westward from year to year, the area under cultivation about holds its own 
one season with another. Cultivation for fiber is beginning to attract attention, and 
good commercial fiber has been produced in very small quantities in Michigan, Wis- 
consin, and Minnesota. The Puget Sound region of the State of Washington has 
shown its ability to produce a fine grade of straw, the fiber from which, according 
to recent experiments made by the Barbour Company, in Lisburn, Ireland, is worth 
$350 per ton. 

Bast fiber. — Flax may be considered the most useful and valuable of all com- 
mercial fibers next to cotton, having, however, a wider range of uses. The fiber 
occurs in the greatest variety in regard to strength, length of filaments, color, and 
adaptability to manufacture, and, compared with cotton in fabrics, is the fiber of 
luxury, while the latter is the textile of the masses. 

The dimensions of the fibers are as follows: Length, 0.157 to 2.598 inches; mean, 
about 1 inch; diameter, 0.0006 to 0.0014-8 inch; mean, about 0.001 inch. The chief 
characteristics of flax are its length, fineness, solidity, and suppleness. Its remark- 
able tenacity is due to the fibrous texture and the thickness of the walls; its sup- 
pleness permits it to be bent sharply; its length is invaluable in spinning, and the 
nature of the surface prevents the fibers from slipping on each other and contributes 
to the durability of fabrics made with them. Flax may be made lustrous, like silk, 
by washing in warm water, slightly acidulated with sulphuric acid, then passing 
through bichromate of potash vapor and gently washing in cold water. Samples of 
flax exposed for two hours to steam at 2 atmospheres, boiled in water for three hours, 
and again steamed for four hours, lost only 3.5 per cent of their weight, while manila 
hemp lost 6.07; hemp, 6.18 to 8.41; jute, 21.39. The conversion of flax into textile 
fabrics is a large and distinct industry. (Spon's Enc.) 

Uses of flax. — Some of the uses of flax fiber are the manufacture of lace (see 
Appendix C), fine linens, cloth for shirtings, sheetings, etc.; handkerchiefs, dress 
goods and suitings, canvas and duck; for embroidery, flosses, "flax thread," and 
twine, from shoemakers' and harness thread to salmon twine and the rougher pack- 
age twines; for warp in carpets, for the body of oilcloth, and even for rope and 
cordage. The rougher fiber is applicable to the manufacture of binding twine and 
paper, though little used for either purpose. 

During the first years of the war of the rebellion an attempt was made to replace 
cotton in the manufacture of fabrics by a textile substance produced chemic- 
ally from flax, hemp, and other textiles that would give a fiber claimed by those 



222 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WOBLD. 

interested in the processes to be "stronger than cotton or wool and capable of taking 
better color than either; and be spun and woven on the existing cotton and woolen 
machinery at a co^t below cotton or wool at anytime, there being less waste" In 
the Report of the Flax and Hemp Commission of 1863 is an account of the various 
processes under experiment for this purpose, the substances produced being vari- 
ously known as "fibrilia," " flax cotton/' "clausenized llax" (and hemp), and 
'•eroliu'* or "flax wool." The series of specimens that were received during this 
inquiry was deposited in the Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag., and formed a valuable and inter- 
esting historical exhibit. They are not in the present museum, however, nor b the 
writer aware of their existence. 

Varieties of imported flax.— The following statement concerning the kinds 
of flax imported into the United States-, with tin- names and marks of grades, has 
been jirepared for the Department by Robert Ik Storer& Co.. Boston. Massachusetts: 

Russia: Russian flax is known as Slanetz (or dew retted and Motchenetz (water 
retted), and the shipments from St. Petersburg are largely of Siretz, or ungraded 
kinds of the several districts. The llax from these districts is known under the 
name of Bejedsk, Krasnoholm, Twer, Kashin, Gospodsky, Nerechta, Wologda. Jara- 
slav. Graesowetz. Kostroma — all Slanetz. The Motchi-netz sorts are Pochochon, Oug- 
litz, Rjeff, Jaropol, and Stepurin. From Archangel are shipped Slant ': sorts, known 
as First Crown. Second Crown, Third Crown, Fourth Crown. First Zabrack, and 
Second Zabrack. From Riga shipments are entirely of Motchenetz sorts and the 
marks are graded from the standard mark K, the others being UK. PK, HPK, SPK, 
HSPK, ZIv! GZK, and HZK. 

Holland: Dutch flax is graded by the marks ^ p, VI, VII, VIII, IX. 

Belgium: Flemish llax (or blue flax) includes Bruges, Tbissalt, Ghent, Lokeren, 

n i ii 

[VI V7 XI 



St. Nicolas, and is graded — - - VI, VII, VIII, IX. Courtrai flax is graded 



iil? in iv} fvj vj \"j VI " Eernes and Bergues llax is graded A, 15. C, D. Walloon 
flax is graded II, III, IV. Zealand llax is graded IX, VIII. VII, VI. Friesland flax 
is graded D, E, Ex, F, Fx, Fxx, G, Gx. Gxx. Gxxx. 

Frame: French flax is known by the districts of Wavrin, 1 lines. Douai, Haze- 
brouck. Picardy, and Harnes. 

Ireland: Irish flax comes as scutched and mill seutehed. and is known by the 
names of the counties where raised. 

Canada : Has no standard of marks or qualities. 

Growth for seed and fiher. — It has been said that, good seed and salable liber 
can not be produced from the same plant, and this statement has been reiterated 
again and again. Experience in other countries, as well as our own, disproves the 
assertion. 

The finest tiax produced in Europe is grown in Belgium, where the seed is not only 
saved, but is used in some cases to produce the next year's crop of flax. The usual 
practice in that country is to import the seed annually, though in some localities a 
different custom prevails, as in the Brabant. Imported seed (Dutch or Russian) is 
planted the first year and the seed produced by this crop is planted the second year. 
giving, it is claimed, a better quality of llax than the first year: but for the next, 
or third, year's sowing new seed is again seemed. 

"About the fiber being coarse if the seed is saved, this will not be the case if the 
llax straw is pulled before being too ripe and hard. In France and Belgium our 
spinners get the finest fiber, and the growers there save the seed." {John Orr Wal- 
lace. 

"'fhe crop must he grown with a view toward netting from the land the highest 
yield of straw that will produce the finest quality of liber. The seed, which ought 
to he a large factor in profit, should be saved, etc. " Irish Textile -Journal.) 

Irish experiments have shown that an acre of land has produced 5 tons 9 hundred- 
weight of green flax one week pulled, and L'2 bushels prime seed. Experts in the 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 223 

country have shown that good fiber and good seed can he secured from the same 
crop, as set forth in the Reports of the Fiber Investigation Series of this Department. 

Soil selection. — Too much care can not be exercised in the selection of the soil for 
this crop. The Belgian flax farmer selects a deep and well-cultivated soil that is 
not too heavy, experience proving that in a dry, calcareous soil the stalk remains 
short, while in a heavy, clayey soil it gives greater lengtb, though at the expense of 
fine fiber. In Ireland any clean land in good state of fertility that will produce a 
good crop of wheat, oats, or barley is considered suitable for flax. On heavy soils 
the Dutch seed is thought to give best results, while Riga seed is sown upon the 
light or medium soils. Recent experiments in our own country have demonstrated 
that the heavier, soils, when well drained and of proper fertility, are preferable to 
the lighter soils, known as sandy loams. In general terms, a moist, deep, strong 
loam upon upland will give best results. Barley lands in the Middle States and new 
prairie lands or old turf in the Western States are frequently chosen. Some former 
New York flax growers inclined to a heavy clay for the production of fiber and seed, 
though a wet soil will be fatal to success. A soil full of the seeds of weeds is to be 
avoided above all things, and weeds should be eliminated by previous cultivation as 
far as possible. 

Soil preparation. — In this country too little attention is paid to the importance of 
deep plowing and reducing the seed bed to the proper tilth. Many foreign flax grow- 
ers urge that the land should be fall plowed, though there are some who are of a dif- 
ferent opinion, but it is recognized by all that the land should be brought almost to 
the condition of garden soil before the seed is sown. On small tracts of a few acres 
in Europe this is accomplished by spading over the land, although such laborious 
methods can not be adopted in the United States. Deep fall plowing with a cross 
plowing in the spring is a good practice to follow. Where there are heavy clay loams 
two plowings in the spring will give better results than one. The number of har- 
ro wings will depend wholly upon the lumpiness of the soil, as all clods must be broken 
up and the soil made fine and even. The roller should he used to make the ground 
as smooth and level as possible and to press into the soil any small stones that may 
be upon the surface. Heavy lands that from their situation are liable to to be more 
or less covered with surface water during the winter should be avoided. On account 
of the extra labor necessitated upon heavy land it is better, therefore, to choose the 
medium soils that will yield readily to the action of the elements and to the plow 
and harrow. 

Fertilizing. — On the new lands of the West good crops may be grown for a number 
of years without manures, though in time fertility must be exhausted and poor crops 
will inevitably follow. The flax crop, of all crops, makes heavy demands upon the 
soil, and for this reason it is frequently called an exhaustive crop. The stem of the 
flax plant is tall and slender, growing rapidly, and the long roots, as they push down 
deeply, must have something to feed upon to make vigorous growth and good straw. 
It is on account of this habit of the plant to extend its roots to such depth in the 
earth that plowing and fine tilth are so essential ; and the roots must find food or the 
plant will be of slow growth, woody, and deficient in fiber, and the product inferior 
both as to quality and quantity. Any crop is exhaustive to the soil that is grown 
year after year on the same land, where everything is taken away and nothing 
returned. In Belgium and other flax-growing countries, where land has been under 
cultivation for generations, stable manure is applied to the land before winter sets 
in. Then in spring, before sowing time, the ground is heavily treated with fer- 
tilizers, or night soil in solution is poured over it. A great deal of the material is 
brought from the towns and kept in closed receptacles or reservoirs until the time 
for using it on the ground. Stable manures are used in connection with chemical 
fertilizers. Of the latter it is common to employ from 600 to 800 kilograms per hec- 
tare, or, roughly, from 500 to 750 pounds per acre, and to go over the ground with 
the liquid night soil in addition. Stable manures should be well rotted to avoid foul- 
ing the crop with weeds, which germinate and grow with the flax. Dr. Ure formerly 



224 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

recommended ;i mixture of 30 pounds of potash, 28 of common salt, 34 of burnt gyp- 
sum, 54 of bone dust, and 56 of magnesia, -which it was claimed would replace the 
constituents of an average acre of flax. Dr. Hodges, of Ireland, many years ago pro- 
posed the following, -which he concluded by analysis would replace the inorganic 
matter removed from the soil by 2 tons of flax straw: Muriate of potash, 30 pounds; 
common salt. 25 pounds ; burnt gypsum, 34 pounds ; bone dust. 54 pounds, and sulphate 
of magnesia, 50 pounds. This is very similar to the formula given by Dr. Ure above. 

Uotation of crops. — A systematic rotation of crops is considered essential in all 
flax-growing countries, though little practiced in the United States. A rotation 
formerly followed in Xew York, covering three years, -was Indian corn, barley, oats, 
winter and spring -wheat, and red clover, the corn being planted on land plowed 
from clover sod. The cleaning process, to rid the soil from weeds, began with the 
first crop which followed the clover sod. The Belgian farmers are particularly 
careful in this matter. In the Courtrai region the occupancy of the laud with llax 
varies from five to ten years, the average being about eight years. In eastern Flan- 
ders it is five to nine, and in the Brabant five to eight. In some other sections a 
much longer time elapses between two crops of flax, and several generations back 
fifteen and even eighteen years were sometimes allowed to intervene. A common 
rotation is clover, oats, rye, wheat, and in some cases hemp. Crops of rape, tobacco, 
beans, and vegetables (these latter crops on farms contiguous to towns;, or even 
onions and salsify, are grown as in middle Belgium. Clover is considered one of the 
best crops to precede a crop of flax, as its numerous roots go deep into the soil, and 
from their decomposition not only furnish nutriment to the growing flax roots, but 
enable them more easily to push down into the subsoil. 

Sowing the seed. — An old rule in this country was to sow when the soil had 
settled and was warmed by the influence of the sun, and weeds and grass had begun 
to spring up and the leaves of trees to unfold. In fact, no definite rule can be laid 
down, experience being the best teacher, as the seeding must be largely governed by 
atmospheric conditions. Too early sowing may result in injury to the growing 
plants. A practice followed by some farmers, especially where the soil is at all 
weedy, is to allow the land, after it is put in condition, to lie until the weeds appear; 
then, just before sowing, give the surface a light harrowing, when the greater part 
will be killed. 

In regard to the manner of seeding the crop, it is usually put in by hand, broad- 
cast ; in foreign countries, the experts at the business going from farm to farm, as 
their services are required. The seeding is accomplished in this country both by 
hand broadcasting and by means of the drill, though the latter method can not be 
recommended. The work should be done with great regularity to secure an even 
growth of straw and the same standard of iineness for different portions of the field. 
The objection to drilling in the crop is that the outside straw will always be coarser 
than that straw in the center of the drill row, and also will have a tendency to branch. 
The practice in Flanders is to sow in the morning and harrow the seed in with a 
close-set harrow; and after the seed has germinated, the land is rolled. When llax 
is grown for seed without regard to liber, it is sown thin, at the rate of 2 to 3 pecks 
of seed per acre, in order that the plants shall branch ami produce as large a crop as 
possible. A large seed is also desirable. When the production of fine liber is the 
object, a thicker sowing is necessary, say, from U to 3 bushels per acre. This pre- 
vents branching, the plants are shaded, and a crop of clean, slender, straight straw 
i.s the result. In Belgium, where the finest fiber is produced, the amount of seed 
sown varies ordinarily from 2. to 3 bushels per acre, though in one district (Hai- 
naut) it is claimed that the quantity sown is sometimes double ibis amount. Prob- 
ably 3 bushels per acre comes nearer the general practice. Some growers hold that 
more should be used when the sowing is late than when early: at any rate, when 
planted too thickly, as is sometimes the case, it is afterwards thinned, though such 
a practice, of course, adds just so much to the cost of production. 

Good liber can not be grown from the average seed of the oil mills. Imported se< «' 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



225 



>nt it must be 



gives the best results, but if this can not be obtained seed must be sown that has 
been produced from plants grown for their fiber, also from selected seed. A proper 
tlaxseed should be pure, free from the seeds of weeds and from all odors which would 
indicate mustiness and bad condition that would affect its germinating power. The 
foreign grower in purchasing his seed is subjected to a dozen forms of fraud, and 
the only safe plan pursued is to buy of reputable dealers exclusively. In all cases 
the heaviest, brightest, and plumpest seed should be preferred. J. R. Proctor, of 
Kentucky, writing upon this subject many years ago, advocated the white-blossom 
Dutch as the best seed for American flax growers. Eugene Bosse, a practical flax 
grower, states that his preference, based upon several years' experience, is for (1) 
"Riga seed, once sown in Belgium''— that is to say, imported seed grown on Belgian 
soil from seed procured in Riga; (2) seed imported direct from Riga, 
Riga and not Finland seed 
(3) Dutch (Rotterdam) seed 
and (4) American seed, whicl 
he reports "as good as Xos. 
2 and 3 when well cultivated, 
though it will not stand the 
drought as well.'' No. 1 will 
produce about 8 bushels of 
seed to the acre, No. 2 10 
bushels, and No. 3 between 8 
and 10 bushels. 

Weeding the crop. — In for- 
eign countries this work is 
done principally by women 
and boys, who go over the 
ground on their knees, pick- 
ing out the weeds by hand. 
This work is done usually 
when the plants are from 1 to 
9 2 inches high, though a sec- 
ond and sometimes a third 
weeding is found necessary 
The American flax grower must 
avoid the labor of weeding by 
having clean land, made as 
nearly clean as possible by 
careful culture. Where weed- 
ing becomes necessary it is 
performed when the plants 
are less than 5 inches high. 

Harvesting. — In Flanders and other portions of Belgium where the seed is of sec- 
ondary importance, and the main object is to obtain as strong and fine fiber as possible, 
the flax is pulled before it is fully ripe, or when it is just beginning to turn yellow, 
coarse flax ripening earlier than fine. The work is done (or begins usually) the last 
week in June, sometimes a little earlier, for, according to one of the old proverbs, 
"June makes the flax." An Irish rule is to pull at once when the straw begins to 
turn yellow and the foliage within 6 inches of the ground is drooping. For the best 
results, when the desired end is fine fiber, the straw must be pulled. This is not the 
usual practice of the Western flax grower, who cultivates for seed, however, and it 
has been urged that it is absolutely essential, where the object is to produce both 
fiber and seed, or, to state it more precisely, when the object is to produce a common 
grade of fiber and at the same time save the seed. If the land surface is made very 
-lnooth, so that the knives of the reaper may be set low, cutting by machine (rather 
12247— Xo. 9 15 




Method offormino; stooks. 



226 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

than palling may answer. Several inches of the best portion of the stem will he 
lost and the square ends of the liber will not work into the "silver" as smoothly as 
pulled rlax when the fiber is being manipulated in the first stages of manufacture. 
A flax polling machine is a desideratum, and for the past two or three years inventors 
have attempted to work out the problem. Where llax i- pulled by manual labor, the 
cours< - iw the handful of straw out of the ground, and by striking tin- roots 

against the boot the earth is dislodged. The .straw is then laid in handfuls, crossing 
each other, so as to be readily made into bundles. In Belgium the flax is laid in 
handfuls upon the ground, a line of straw being tirst laid down, which serves to 
bind these handfuls when a sufficient quantity has been pulled to tie. When put 
into stooks to dry, the seed ends being tied together, the bottom ends are opened 
out. giving " 3took the appearance of an A tent. See fig. 7*3. After drying in 
the stook. the handfuls of straw are then tied into small bunches, or "beets." and 
piled something as cordwood is piled in this country, two poles being first laid 
upon the ground to prevent injury to the bottom layer by dampness, and two poles 
driven at each end of the pile to keep the "hedges"' in form. 

In the matter of saving the seed the common American practice ha> been to drive 
the straw through an ordinary thrashing machine, securing the seed, but rendering the 
straw utterly worthless in its tangled and broken condition. Some attempts have 
been made to save the straw even with the ordinary thrasher by opening the con- 
cave. This is done so that the teeth will just come together: then with one man to 
open and pass in the bundles, another takes them by the butt ends, and, spreading 
them fan shape, presents the seed end to the machine. Tim straw is not released, 
but is withdrawn as soon as the seed is torn off, when the bundles are again tied. 
The operation is not fully satisfactory, and the nece<-ity of a rapid rlax thrasher 
has stimulated invention, and several machines have been presented which will do 
the work more or less effectually, though an absolutely successful machine for this 
purpose is yet a desideratum. In the old days of flax cultivation in New York 
whipping the seed capsules against a sharp rock set at an angle of 45 c was the 
method resorted to. In foreign countries Various methods are resorted to from hand 
thrashing to passing the bundles through powerful machines with iron cylindei - e 
constructed that only the heads are crushed, the straw remaining in the hands of 
the operator during the entire operation. 

Betting ihe straw. — Three natural modes of steeping, or retting, are recognized — 
dew retting, pool retting, and retting in running water. There are also many proc- 
— - for quick retting, where the temperature of the water is controlled, and also 
when chemicals are nsed, but few of the>e have given good results, and the flax of 
the world is largely retted by natural methods rather than by "processes." so called. 
For dew retting a moist meadow is the proper place, the fiber being spread over the 
ground in straight rows at the rate of a ton to an acre. It* laid about the 1st of 

ber, and the weather is good, a couple of weeks will suffice for the proper 

: ation of the fiber and woody matter. When the retting is progressing unevenly 
the rows are opened with a fork or turned with a long pole. For pool retting the 

st water gives the best results, and where a natural pool is not available, such 
as the "bog holes" in Ireland. ">teep pools" will have to be built. A pool 30 feet 
pong, 10 feet wide, and 4 feet deep will suffice for an acre of rlax. >pring water 
should be avoided, or, if used, the pool should be tilled some weeks before the flax i- 
ready for it. in order to soften the water. It should be kept free from all mineral 
or vegetable impurities. The sheaves are packed loosely in the pool, sloping so a- 
to rest lightly on their butt end-, if at all. for it is considered best to keep the 
shea*res entirely under water without allowing them to come in contact with the 
bottom. Irish growers cover with long wheat straw or sods, grass side down, the 
whole kept under water by means of stones ox other weights. Fermentation is 

d by the turbidity of the water and by bubbles of gas, and a- this g es on 
more weights are required, tor the tlax Bwells and rises. If possible, the thick scum 
which now forms on the surface should be removed by allowing a slight stream of 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 227 

water to ilow over the pool. The liber sinks when tleco nposition has been carried 
to the proper point, though this is not always a sure indication that it is jnst right 
to take out. In Holland the plan is to take a number of stalks of average fineness, 
which are broken in two places a few inches apart. If the woody portion or core 
pulls out easily, leaving the fiber intact, it is ready to come out. The operation 
usually requires from five to ten days. 

The finest flax in the world — the famous flax of the Court rai region of Belgium — is 
retted in the sluggish waters of the river Leys. This is called by the French 
rouisscKje (in courant, which was described as follows in the writer's report on Belgian 
Flax Culture, 1890 : 

"Crates or frames of wood are used, having solid floors of boards, the sides being 
open. These measure about 12 feet square and perhaps a meter in height, or a little 
over a yard. First a strip of jute burlap is carried around the four sides on the 
inside, coming well to the top rail of the crate. This is to strain the water, or to 
keep out floating particles or dirt which would injure the flax by contact, with it. 
The bundles, which measure 8 to 10 inches through, are composed of "beets" laid 
alternately end for end, so that the bundle is of uniform size throughout. They are 
stood on end and packed so tightly into place that they can not move, each crate 
holding about 2,000 to 3,000 pounds of straw T . When a crate is filled the entire top 
is covered with clean rye straw and launched and floated into position in the stream. 
It is then weighted with large paving blocks or other stones until it has snuk to the 
top rail, when it is left for the forces of nature to do the remainder. The time of 
immersion is from four to fifteen days, dependent upon temperature of the water 
and of the air, quality of flax, and other influences. There are several delicate 
tests which indicate when the flax should come out, although the near approach of 
the time is made known by the self-raising of the crate out of the water (often a 
foot or more), caused by the gases of decomposition. When ready to remove, the 
crate is floated opposite a windlass — and there are many along the shore — the chain 
attached, and the affair pulled halfway up the bank, when the bundles are at once 
removed. The big bundles are taken back to the field, and are now broken up and 
again put into the form of the little "A" tents already described. This work is done 
by hoys, who show great dexterity not only in spreading and standing up the little 
bundle when it is first opened for drying, but in the subsequent operation of turning 
the tent completely inside out, so that the straw that was shaded in the interior may 
be subjected to the air and sunshine and the drying he accomplished evenly. After 
this drying process is completed, the flax again goes into the big bundles for a second 
immersion, and I was told sometimes a third, though rarely. This work begins in 
September and continues until too cool to ret the flax advantageously. Then it 
begins again in March and continues until all the flax has been retted. Much of 
the unretted flax is carried over to the next year in this manner. Not only is it 
thought to improve the flax in quality, but is better for the producers, enabling 
them to hold their product for good prices when the fall prices are low.'' (Report 
No. 1, Fiber Investigation Series, U. S. Dept. Ag.) 

For an account of the practice followed in the cultivation of flax for household 
linen, see Report No. 4 of the above series, page 37. 

Economic considerations. — Flax culture for fiber can not be established in the 
United States on the lines of practice in foreign countries. As the case stands, the 
farmer is hardly in position to grow flax, save in an experimental way, until he is 
sure of a market, and the manufacturer — that is, the spinner— is not in a position to 
make offers of purchase or to name price, because he is not sure that the farmer can 
grow flax of the proper standard, or that he can afford to purchase at any price, for 
his particular manufacture, such flax as the farmer may produce. This simply 
means that what isolated farmers can not accomplish alone must be accomplished 
by the establishment of little local industries. To borrow a foreign term, the future 
flax industry of the United States must be communal; that is to say, capital must 
establish scutch mills in localities where flax may be profitably grown, farmers of the 



228 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



neighborhood agreeing to produce 5, 10, or 20 acres of straw each, under the direc- 
tion, if need be, of the managers of the mills, to insure the growth of a quality of 
straw that will give the proper standard of fiber. This relieves the farmers from 
any responsibility in the matter further than to produce a proper crop of straw. 
The scotch mills or tow mills attend to the retting and cleaning of the fiber, whuch 
in turn is sold to the spinner. One good scutch mill will prepare the flax grown on 
a score or more of farms, and as the work is accomplished under one direction, the 
product will be far more even as to standards than would be possible were it pre- 
pared by twenty different men. in Canada and in northern Michigan (in the neigh- 
borhood of Yale, where there are successful scutch mills) the practice is to sell the 
seed to the farmers, at the mills, at a fixed price per bushel, the farmers agreeing to 
sow a certain number of acres to flax, the straw from which the managers of the 
scutch mills agree to take at a fixed price per ton, in some cases $10 being named. 

The farmers of the United States use improved implements and machines in all 
farm operations, and American farm implements are recognized as the finest in the 
world. What invention has done for other rural industries is possible for the tlax 
industry, and by the use of improved machines in every stage of flax culture the 
difference in wages between this country and the Old World will be more than 
equalized. The "American practice/' means simply an intelligent practice, for the 
growth of both fiber and seed, achieving economical production by the employment 
of labor-saving machinery, even in the pulling of the flax straw, line flax can be 
grown in the United States, providing the farmers grow it intelligently and perse- 
veringly — not one year, or two, or three, but year after year, growing each year a 
little, and growing it well. 

Statistical uecords. — Reference has been made to the large crops of flax grown 
in this country iu previous years. The following figures of yield of seed and liber. 
for five periods, from 1849 to 1889, are reproduced from reports of the Eleventh Census : 



Year. 


Bushels. 


Pounds of 
fiber. 


1849 


562, 312 
566, 867 


7, 70fi. 676 
4 72(1 US 


1859 


1869 


1,730, 444 27,133.034 


1879 


7,170,951 ! 1,565,546 


1889 


10,250,410 241,389 



For the figures of yield by States, see Bulletin Xo. 177, Eleventh Census, by John 
Hyde. 

The States producing fiber, largely coarse tow for upholsterers' use, in 1889, in the 
order of importance are Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, * Virginia, Ohio, New York, 
* Kentucky, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, * West Virginia, * North Carolina, 
South Dakota, 'Tennessee, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Pennsylvania. 
and Arkansas, the first with a record of 57, 776 pounds, and the last named, 1 1 pounds. 
The figures for States denoted with an asterisk (*) doubtless represent iu part the 
remnant of the old household linen industry, for in 1*90 flax was still grown for 
homespun in the mountain regions of the States named. The total figures for the 
States thus indicated are 49,737 pounds. Virginia and Kentucky supply over 30,000 
pounds of this quantity, and showing a mixed commercial and household industry. 

Livistona australis. 

One of the few palms found in Australia, attaining a heighl of LOO feet, its trunk 
being a foot in diameter. The species of this genus are found from upper Assam 
ami southern China through Malacca and the islands of the Indian Archipelago, as 
well as Australia. 

FlBF.R. — The lin expanded leases of L. australis are prepared by scalding, and dry- 
ing in the shade, when the material is used for making hats. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 229 

L. chinensis is used to make coarse fabrics for bags, etc., and also for cordage. L. 
jenlcinsiana is the Tolo rat of Assam, and is used for making the peculiar umbrella 
hats of the natives. 

Llanchama (Peru). See Cour atari. 

Locust (W. Ind.). Hymenasa courbaril. 

Lodoicea callipyge. Double Cocoanut Palm. 

Common names. — Coco de Mer, Coco des Maldives. 

This species of palm was unknown prior to the discovery of the Seychelles Islands 
in 1743, but its immense "double cocoanuts" were often found floating upon the 
waters of the Indian Ocean. 

The tree has a nearly cylindrical trunk, scarcely exceeding a foot in diameter, and 
bearing a crown of fan-shaped leaves, some of which are upward of 20 feet long 
and 12 feet wide. They are of two sexes, both of which have three sepals and three 
petals to the flowers, those of the females being large, thick, and fleshy. The fruits, 
externally are covered with a thick, fibrous husk, and contain usually one, but some- 
times two or even three immense stones or nuts with excessively hard and thick 
black shells, each being divided halfway down into two lobes, whence the popular 
name. In olden times important medicinal virtues were attributed to these nuts, 
water drunk out of vessels made of them being supposed to preserve people from all 
complaints, and extravagant prices were consequently paid for them. At the present 
day they are converted into various domestic utensils, while the wood serves many 
useful purposes." (Treas. Botany.) 

Fiber.— From the dried leaves of this palm many useful or ornamental articles 
are manufactured, such as hats, fans, baskets, cigar cases, etc., and the leaves are 
also used for thatching. 

Lonicera quinquelocularis. Himalayan Honeysuckle. 

An Indian plant, also found in southern Afghanistan. It is worthy of only passing 
mention, as its bast, which is shed in long fibrous strips, is only suitable for uphol- 
stery purposes. 

Loof. The fiber of Luffa wgyptica. 

Loto (It.). Celtis australis. 

Lotus, the sacred (Egypt). See Nelumbium. 

Luff (Arab.). See Luffa. 

Luffa segyptica. The Spong-e Cucumber. Snake Gourd. 

Syn. Luffa cylindrica, etc. 

Exogen. Cucurbitacece. A climbing vine. 

The species of the genus are said to be natives of tropical Asia and Africa, though 
L. cegyptica is grown in many parts of the world. Some of its names are as follows : 
Sponge cucumber or Dish cloth plant, Papinjay, southern United States; Estrapajo, 
Venezuela; Esponga vegetal, Argentina; Diin-dul, Bengal; Khujar, Persia; Luff, 
Arabia; Hechima, Japan; etc. Fig. 2, PI. VIII, is a sponge cucumber grown by 
the author, together with a specimen of the commercial sponge imported from 
Japan. 

Fiber. — The dried fruit, after frost, is a network of interlacing fibers that can be 
used without further preparation as a substitute for the sponge, for bath purposes; 
sometimes used as a flesh brush in the Turkish bath. Some very fine examples of 
these vegetable sponges were secured from the Japan exhibit, W. C. E., 1893 (under 
the name L. petola), the fiber being used by the Japanese " for the heart of hats, the 
sole of sacks, or 'Tabi' for stuffing saddles, in place of sponges for washing, etc." 



230 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

In the United States ornamental baskets are sometimes made from the sponge 
encumber, and among the curious objects of the mnsenm the visitor is shown a l>on- 
net, worn in the South during the late war, made entirely of this fiber. To prepare 
it, the cucumbers were cnt through lengthwise upon one side only, and opened out 
flat, the fibrous walls of the tubes before mentioned forming longitudinal ridges 
which appeared on the outside of the bonnet. Several cucumbers were required to 
make this dainty head covering, which was sewed together and afterwards shaped 
with scissors, and lined on the inside and trimmed with pink cambric. The fruit is 
from 6 inches to 1 foot in length, the interior being formed of a dense tissue of wiry 
fibers and containing three longitudinal tubes, in which are found the numerous 
black seeds. 

The commercial product. — The vegetable sponge does not appear to be an arti- 
cle of trade and export in any country but Japan, which exports over 1,000,000 
sponges a year. They are chiefly exported from Yokohama, and some from the ports 
of Kobe and Nagasaki ; and the principal destinations of exportation are London, 
Havre, Hamburg, San Francisco, New York, Shanghai, and Hongkong. 

It is grown in every part of Japan, there being two varieties in common cultiva- 
tion — one long and slender, being used for food, and the other more plump, as a 
fiber plant. The method of cultivation in Japan is to sow the seed in March, in a 
seed bed, transplanting to the cultivated fields as soon as the plants show four or 
five leaves. A horizontal network of bamboo poles is constructed above the plants, 
upon which the vines twine and spread. Four or five " cucumbers " are grown on a 
plant, and 21,000 may be grown to the acre. The harvest is in September. 

Lupis. A form of manila hemp. See Musa textilis. 
Lupulo (Peru). Humuhis Iwpulus. 
Lycopodium clavatum. Btjnning Pine. 

Lycopodiacew. A club moss. 

The club mosses are found in cold, temperate, and tropical countries, some being 
prostrate in their habit of growth, while others are erect, the latter frequently of 
large size. 

L. clavatum abounds in this country in woods from Labrador to Alaska, south to 
North Carolina, Michigan, and Washington. Also found in Central America and in 
Europe. The species can scarcely be called a textile plant, though in Sweden it is 
used in the manufacture of door mats. 

Lygeum spartum. 

Endogen. Graminea\ A perennial grass. 

Native names. — Sennoc and Albardine (Afr.); known in Italy as Lacrime salva- 
tlche, the weeping sylvan. 

Mediterranean regions; northern Spain and northern Africa. The plant is often 
confounded with the true esparto, Stipa tenacissima, which abounds in the same 
regions, and which is the commercial esparto so largely used for the manufacture of 
paper. L. spartum is an evergreen, its culm solid and cylindrical, from 1 to \h feet 
in height, having generally only one node, from which comes forth the last leaf.' 
The leaves are very narrow and from 40 to 70 centimeters in length, smooth and 
nearly cylindrical, sea green in color, very tenacious, and similar to those of Stipa 
tenaci88ima. 

Structural Fiber. — Both species are used in Italy in basket manufacture and as 
covering for the protection of bottles, these articles being exported to the United 
States and other countries. Savorgnan states that while the term Giunco marino (or 
sea reed) is applied to several species, Lygeum spartum is usually understood. Proba- 
bly used, in connection with other species, in the manufacture of Buscola baskets. 
See Juncus acutus. 






DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 231 

Lygodium scandens. 

Filices. A climbing fern. 
The species of this genus are widely distributed over the warmer parts of the 
world, extending to New Holland, Japan, and North America. Most commonly met 
with in our greenhouses. The Kew collection contains a broom made in Ceylon 
from the stipes of the species named, while the stipes of another species, found on 
the Island of Luzon, supply material for hats. 

Lyme grass. Elymus arenarius. 
Lyonsia reticulata. 

A specimen of so-called fiber from the seed vessels of this plant was received from 
the Queensland collection (Phil. Int. Exh., 1876). It is worthless as a " fiber" and 
can only be classed with " silk cotton" from the Bombax, and with " vegetable silk" 
from pods of Asclepias. The plant is a creeper belonging to the dogbane family, 
having cucumber shaped pods, which are the source of the fiber. The plant is a 
native of Australia. 

Maana (Oeyl.). Andropogon nardus of Diet. Ee. Prod., Ind. See 
A. schcenantJius. 

Macanilla (Venez.). See Guilielma speciosa. 

Macauba and Macaw palm (Braz.). See Acrocomia sclerocarpa and 
A. lasiospatha. 

Machinery for extracting fibers. See Appendix A. 

Macpalxochitlquahuitl (Yiic.). Cheirostemon platanoides. 

Macrochloa tenacissima (see Stipa tenacissima). 

Macrocystis pyrifera. Giant Seaweed. 

This is a remarkable genus of dark-spored Algw, belonging to the order Lami- 
nariaceaz. " Many species have been proposed by authors, but all are reducible to 
one, M. pyrifera, which girds the southern temperate zone and stretches up from 
thence along the Pacific to the Arctic regions, through 120 degrees of latitude. 
This plant, like the Sargassum, has been celebrated by all voyagers, to whom it is 
of great service in indicating the presence of rocks, acting, as it does, like a great 
buoy. Vast masses are thrown up on exposed coasts, where it is rolled by the waves 
till it forms cables as thick as a man's body. Single plants have been estimated on 
reasonable grounds as attaining a length of 700 feet. It is apparently indifferent to 
cold, if not extreme, but inasmuch as like its near allies it is a deep-sea Alga it 
requires a depth of at least 6 fathoms for its growth." {Rev. M. J. Berkeley.) 

Pseudo Fiber. — This is not strictly speaking a fiber plant, though it affords useful 
material that may bo employed in the place of a fiber as a "cordage" material. No 
references can be given, but I have been informed that the Macrocystis is exten- 
sively employed in Alaska for the manufacture of fishing lines, which are strong and 
durable. 

Other species of Algce are used in a similar manner. W. H. Harvey, in Nereis 
Boreali-Americana (Sm. Inst., 1858), on the authority of Lightfoot, refers to the use 
of the stems of Chorda filum, which often attain the length of 30 or 40 feet and which 
are popularly known as Lucky Minny's lines. These are skinned when half dry, and 
twisted acquire so considerable a degree of strength and toughness that the high- 
landers sometimes use them as fishing lines. 

Dr. H. Mertens, in Hooker's Bot. Misc., refers to a similar use of a species of Fucus 
by the Aleutians. It is said that these fishing lines from Algce, are iwt affected by 
freezing, and therefore can be used at low temperatures without danger of breaking. 



232 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 




Macrozamia spiralis. 

This species, belonging to the Cycadacece, occurs in New South Wales, the repre- 
sentatives of the genus being found chiefly in Australia. * Specimens of the pulu- 
like surface fiber are preserved in the Bot. Mus. Harv. Univ. Fig. 77 i 8 a leaf of 
M. denisonii in the Department conservatory. 

Madar fiber or Mudar (Ind.). See Galotropis gigantea. 
Madras hemp (Ind.). See Grotalaria. 
Maggio piccolo (It.). See Goronilla emerus. 

Maguey (Mex.). See Agave mexicana 

and A. americana; blando, A. 

salmiana; de tequila. A. ameri- 
cana, A. wislizeni, etc. 

The term-Maguey, with and without an affix, 
has been used as a general term to designate 
many species of Agaves. Ignacio Blazqnez 
enumerates 33 species and varieties of Maguey 8 
which grow or are cultivated on the plains of 
Apam. and names 16 species and varieties 
growing or cultivated in the district of 
Cholula which yield pulque. See also Agave 
potatorum. 

Mah-line or Malaing (Burm.). See 
Broussonetla papyri/era. 

Mahoe. Also written Mahaut. 

This name is applied to several West Indian 
and South American species of nialvaceous 
plants ; sometimes written Mahaut. The species 
named in this work are: bord Ja-mer, Hib- 
iscus tiliaceus; cousin , Triumfetta semi- 

triloba; blue or mountain , Hibiscus elatus; 

: red , Sterculia caribcea; Congo , Jfibis- 







— , Thespesia pop uln ea; 
arboreus, etc. ; 



Fig. 77. — A leaf of Macrozamia 
denisonii. 



cus dypeatus; seaside 

wild , Malvaviscus 

pincet, Fuuifera utilis, sec Lagetta. "Mahoe is 
a collective name for the bast fibers of Paritium, 
Ochroma, Thespesia, Hibiscus, etc. The word is 
the same as Majagua used in Venezuela, Colom- 
bia, and other countries." (l>r. Ernst. 

The name Mahoe is applied in Trinidad 

j ipeiba, 
(J. H 



indiscriminately to the genera Paritium, Thespesia, Daphnopsis. Ochroma, 
HeUocarpus, and many others producing bast tissue or fibrous barks. 
Hart.) 

Maholtine (Trin.). AhuiiJon periplocifolium (now Wissadula). 

Mahauli and Marvil (Ind.). See Bauhinia racemosa. 

Maicha (Pern). See Mamillaria. 

Maidenhair fern (see Adiantum). 

Mayo or Maioh (Burm.). Galotropis gigantea. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 233 

Maize, or Indian Corn (see Zea mays). 
Majagua. 

A collective name employed in Spanish-speaking countries for the bast fibers of 
nialvaceous and similar plants (see Malioe); often used with an affix, as Majagua 
clarellina (see Pachira). Two unidentified fibers from the Mexican exhibit, W. C. E., 

1893, were named tie tomillo, and de rejuco. The term is applied in Costa 

Rica to Hibiscus tiliaceus. 

Majaguillo (Venez.). See Muntingia. 

Makaw palm (Braz.). Acrocomia sclerocarpa. The Great Makaw 
Palm is A. lasiospatha. 

Makkah, Makkai, Makkajari, etc. (Pers. and Ind.) Zea mays. 

Malachra capitata. Wild Okra. 

A nialvaceous shrub occurring in tropical America, India, and other countries; 
probably a native of South America. 

Fiber. — A fine/example of its bast was secured from the exhibit of British Guiana, 
W. C. E., 1893, which, with a specimen from Trinidad, is shown in the museum col- 
lection. The first named was 8 or 9 feet long - , jute like in appearance, though more 
yellow, and rather coarse. This, or an allied species, is found in Trinidad where the 
plant grows wild in damp situations. It is found in Venezuela. Spon states that 
when well cleaned it is almost as soft as silk, having a silvery luster, and is 8 to 9 
feet in length. 

In India it is supposed to be an introduced plant, native of the Congo basin of 
tropical Africa, and is regarded by Dr. Watt as a jute substitute. The fiber has 
been much admired in India, but efforts to introduce it into cultivation (in Bombay) 
resulted in failure. A very full account of the experimental cultivation of M. capitata 
in India appears in the Die. Ec. Prod. Ind., Vol. V. 

In Bernardin's list M. radiata (Pavonia sessiliflora) is mentioned from Trinidad, and 
M. urens from Jamaica, while the " Guimauve" a species with yellow flowers, found 
in the Antilles, is called M. orata. 

Malaguete (Braz.). Xylopia sericea. 

Ma-lo (Figi). See Broussonetia. 

Maloo climber (Ind.). See Bauhinia racemosa. 

Mallow. 

The common mallow of India, Malva sylvestris. The musk , Hibiscus abelmos- 

chus ; the swamp rose , H. moscheutos ; the Indian , Abutilon avicennce; 

marsh , Althcea officinalis; velvet 3 Lavatera maritima. Mallow is also 

a collective name applied to the family of malvaceous plants. 

Malva sylvestris. 

Exogen. Malvaceae. Erect glabrous herb. 

Native names. — Khubaz (Bomb, and Arab.) ; Ichatmi (Beng.) etc. ; mauve (Ft.). 
Western temperate Himalayas; distributed to Europe, Siberia, and northern 
Africa. 

Bast Fiber. — Spon states that the fiber of M. sylvestris, M. rotundifolia, and M. 
crispa are widely utilized. M. peruviana is credited to Peru, and M. sylvestris to 
Spain, Portugal, and Italy, as well as to India. Royle states that M. sylvestris abounds 
in fiber. 

Malvalisco (Braz.). See Sphwralcea. 



234 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WOKLD. 



Malvaviscus arboreus. Wild Maiioe. 

A genus of uialvaceous shrubs native ot' tropical America and Mexico. Said to be 
found in Mauritius. 

Fiber. — A coarse bast, labeled Civil, secured from the Mexican exhibit, W. ('. E., 
1n;»:>. was referred by Dr. Ernst to tbis species. Employed for native uses. Fiber 6 
to 7 feet in length. Savorgnan states that it is an excellent textile material. 
Specimen of the liber, Herb. Col. Univ.. X. Y. 

Mamaki (Hawaii). See Pipturus. 



Mamillaria senilis. 

A genus of Cactacece for the most part con line 




Fir,. 78. — The Bussi'i palm, Manicaria eaccifera. 

Mandgay (Bomb.). See Bambusa a run 
Mandua (Ind.). Elexisine coracana. 



d to Mexico. M. senilis is also found 
in Tern, known as Maicha. Dorca 
states that it produces a surface 
fiber, a kind of yellowish wool. 
The revised name of this genus is 
Cactus. 

The genus is, in most instances, 
readily distinguished from its 
allies by the fleshy stem, of which 
the plants solely consist, being 
entirely covered with tubercles of 
a teat-like form, giving rise to the 
generic name, from mamilla, a lit- 
tle teat. These are disposed in a 
series of spirals, each teat being 
furnished at the top with a tuft of 
radiating spines proceeding from 
a kind of cushion. Af.pusilla is a 
very pretty little spe< ies. growing 
in crowded tufts usually of a hemi- 
spherical shape. The mamillae, 
which are about the size of grains 
of wheat, have little tufts of white- 
hairs between them and bear bun- 
dles of spines, consisting of from 
four to six straight stilt inner 
ones and from twelve to twenty 
outer ones like white hairs. (A. 
smith.) 

M. coronaria, reaching 5 feet in 
height, and M. clava, both Mexican 
species, produce a '-white wool." 
The filter is more curious than 
useful. 

dinacea. 



Manicaria saccifera. Troolie Palm. 

NATl VE X A M E . — Btl88li. 

A Brazilian palm inhabiting the tidal swamps of the lower Amazon, the individual 
leaves of which often measure 30 feet in length. I See fig. 7 s . 

Each gigantic leaf of the Troolie palm, Manicaria 8accifera } is really a shelter in 
itself; and a few of these laid, without further preparation, so as to overlap like 
tihs, make a perfect roof. Before corrugated zinc was introduced a large trade was 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 235 

carried on between the Indians and the planters on the coast in these leaves, with 
which to thatch buildings on the sugar estates. (E. F. im Thurn.) 

Structural Fiber. — The iibrous spathes of this palm are well adapted for use in 
the manufacture of caps, mats, etc. They are also converted into bags, by simply 
cutting round them near the bottom and pulling them off entire, afterward stretch- 
ing them open as wide as possible without tearing. When cut down one side and 
opened they supply a coarse but strong fabric, or kind of cloth. 

M. plukeneiii is a Guatemala species, represented, with the above, in the Kew Mus. 
collection — not now, however, considered as distinct from the above. 

Manila hemp (Phil. Is.). See Musa textilis. 
Manorrin. Chippewa Indians. Zizania aquatica. 

Mao. In Jap., China grass, Boehmeria; in Hawaii, Gossypium tomen- 

tosum. 
Maoutia puya. Wild hemp ; Pua hemp. 

Syn. Boehmeria puya, and B. fruteseens. 

Exogen. Urticacew. A shrub. 
Native of tropical Himalayas, Assam Valley, Burma, Straits Settlements, and 
Japan. Known as p6%, pooali, puya, Jcyinki, etc. 

Bast Fiber. — Closely resembles the fiber of the Boehmerias and is prepared in 
the same manner. "Pooah is principally used for fishing nets, for which it is admira- 
bly adapted on account of the great strength of the fiber and its extraordinary 
power of long resisting the effects of water. It is also used for making game bags, 
twine, and ropes. It is considered well adapted for making cloth, but is not much 
used in this way." (Boyle.) For further accounts see Royle, Fibrous Plants of 
India; Watt, Die. Ec. Prod. Ind., Vol. V; Spon's Enc, Div. III. 

Maraja (Braz.). See Bactris. 

Marram, or Marum Holl. (see Ammophila). 

Maranta. 

Many species of the genus Maranta have been referred to other genera, but as their 
fibers are unimportant the few to which I find references will be mentioned under 
this genus. The species are chiefly natives of tropical America, though M. arundi- 
nacea, which supplies the arrowroot of commerce, has been distributed to other coun- 
tries. M. sanguinea (now Stromanthe sanguinea) is mentioned both in Bernardin's 
Catalogue and in the Flax and Hemp Commission list, the fiber being described as 2\ 
feet in length. Fiber has also been produced from M. arundinacea. The split stems 
and leaves of M. dichotoma (now Clinogyne dichotoma), an India species, are made into 
mats to use as awnings. Maranta obliqua (now Ischnosiphon ohliquus) is a native of 
British Guiana. Spon states that the fiber is used by the Indians for making their 
pegalls. See Ischnosiphon. Fig. 79 is if. arundinacea. 

Marima color ada (Venez.). See Lecythis eoriacea. 

Marool (Ind.). See Sansevieria. 

Marsdenia tenacissima. Eajmahal Creeper. 

Exogen. Asclepiadacea >„ Small climber. 

Common and native names. — Rajmahal hemp (Ind.); Jiti and Chiti (Beng.); 
Muruvd-diil (Ceyl.); Tongus (Hind). The Jetee fiber of Royle's Indian Fibers; 
sometimes called the bowstring creeper. 
India, throughout the lower Himalayas, Assam, and Burmah; Lower hills of 
Bengal. 



236 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



Bast Fiber. — The Jetei liber of India. The plant is abundant in the Rajmahal 

hills of India in dry and barren places, and the fibers of the bark are employed for 
making bowstrings by the mountaineers. '' The fibers are not only beautiful in 
appearance, but strong and durable." In Dr. Roxburgh's tests of twine made from 
jetee, he found that in the dry and wet states it bore a strain of 248 and 343 pounds, 
when hemp in the same states bore 158 and 190 pounds. More recent tests, however, 
place it below hemp in strength, but above it in elasticity. The fiber is much used 
for making nets, and is not liable to injury by being kept in water. 

Marsh grass, or salt marsh grass. Spartina juncea. 




Fig. 79.— Maranta arundinacea. 



Martynia louisiana. Devil's Horns. 

Syn. Martynia proboscidea. 
Exogen. Pedal iacea\ Herbaceous shrub. 

Native names. — Testa di Qua glia (It.). An allied species i-^ known in Mexico 
as Ungulu8 Diaboli. 
A Mexican plant, but found in the western United States. The species of this 
genus are natives of tropical America. A starch is obtained from their tubers. 

FIBER, — The pods of Martynia louisiana at maturity shed their fragile outer coat, 
leaving an inner part of an exceedingly tougn, fibrous nature, black on the outside, 
and with two slender, divergent hooked horns, commonly 4 to 5 iuches. or rarely 12 
inches, in length. These horns are easily split into thinner strands, and in this form 
are used by several tribes of Indians in the southwestern United States t<> make the 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 237 

black ornamental figures of their finely woven baskets. (/''. V. Coville.) See under 
Salix lasiandra. 

Marul and Murva (Hind.). Sansevieria zeylanica. 
Marzuolo (straw plait) (It.). See Triticum. 
Massette (Fr.). Typha angustifolia. 
Mastinazia spp. 

I find no reference to this genus other than in the manuscript notes supplied by 
Mr. Dorca, of Lima, Peru. The Cdmona, M. cariotifolia, and the Chonta, M. ciliata, 
are said to yield fibrous bark. Camona also given to an Iriartea. 

Mata-mata (Braz.). Lecythis coriacea. 
Matapalo (Peru). Fieus dendrocida. 
Matondo (Afr.). See Brachystegia. 
Mats and matting. 

For table of fibrous substances used for, see Economic Classification, page 32. 

Mati (Viti). Wilcstrcemia foetida. 
Matting, commercial. 

Chinese and Korean, refer to Cyperus tegetiformis ; Indian, Cyperus corymbosus, C. 
esculentus, C. tegetum; Japanese, Cyperus unitans and Juncus effusus. The Tinnevelly 
mattings of India are made from C. corymbosus and C. tegetum, the former species 
being used in the finer kinds. Other species of rushes and sedges are also employed 
in matting manufacture, but the above species are most commonly used. 

Mauritia flexuosa. The Eta or It A Palm. 

Endogen. Palmes. Palm tree, 80 to 100 feet. 

Native of Brazil, but found in British Guiana and other regions of South America. 
Abundant on the banks of the Amazon, Rio Negro, and Orinoco rivers. Known in 
Venezuela as the Moriche palm. The Aguaje of Peru. The sap yields a palm wine, 
the leaves supply another beverage, and a sago is prepared from the soft inner por- 
tion of the stem. The tree often inhabits swampy ground liable to inundation. 
(See fig. 80.) 

Structural Fiber. — This is prepared from the outer skin of the young leaves, 
the strips from which dry in a thread-like form. It is known as Tibisiri fiber in 
British Guiana, where it is used by the natives for hammocks and general cordage 
purposes. According to E. F. im Thurn, "the leaf when fully developed is fan- 
shaped, but it first appears folded in a spike, which springs from the very center of 
the plant. It is from this spike that the fiber is obtained. Fiber taken from the 
spikes of old plants is not nearly as strong as that taken from young plants. Each 
leaf or spike is taken off singly; a sharp, dextrous rub at the top separates the outer 
shin, and the whole is then torn off. This is the fiber, the rest is waste. It is fur- 
ther prepared by boiling, drying in the sun, and twisting into strings. The fiber 
from a dozen long spikes is sufficient to make a large hammock. Both Tibisiri and 
Crowia fiber are twisted into string in a very simple and ingenuous way, but one 
which would be impossible to all except people such as these Indians. A proper 
number of parallel fibers are held firmly by one end in the left hand, the remainder 
of the fibers resting across the naked right thigh. The palm of the right hand is 
laid across the fibers, and therefore parallel to the thigh. By a very rapid downward 
and sideward motion of the right hand, followed by a slight backward motion, the 
fibers are rolled downward along the thigh and become spirally twisted. The single 
straw is used for hammocks, three strands for bowlines, and three of the triple cords 
(sometimes nine strands) for making hammock ropes." 



238 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



In Venezuela the fiber of this palm, known as Moriche, is used for making reins 
and cordage. "In fineness, strength, and durability the fiber is surpassed by that 
obtained from Astrocaryum vulgare" (Spon). Among the products of this palm 
exhibited in the Kew Mus. are fans and baskets and a canoe sail from British 
Guiana, the latter made from central portions of tbe leaf stalk; also sandals made 
from the leaf stalk by the Wascari Indians. "Tbe most useful fiber to the natives 
of British Guiana.'" (Quelch.) 

* Specimen. — U. S. Xat. Mus. 

Mauritia vinifera. The Mukiti Palm. 

A Brazilian species, known also as the wine palm of Para. It is a tall, graceful 
species with a cylindrical trunk. The wine or juice "is obtained by cutting down 




Fig. 





^\$$WW**^. 



-The Ita palm, ITauritia 
flexuosa. 



Tig. 81. — The Carana palm. Mauritia 
aculeata. 



the tree and cutting into the trunk several holes about 6 inches square, three inches 
deep, and about 6 feet apart. In a short time these holes become filled with a red- 
dish colored liquid which forms a very agreeable drink. On the Rio Negro the hard 
outside portions of the trunk are used lor building purposes." Off. Guide Keto Mus. 
It also produces a pulp which, when boiled with sugar, is made into a sweetinent. 
The young leaves and cuticle of the leaves form the raw material for the manufac- 
ture of hammocks and mats. In the handbook Notes of the State of Para. W. vJ. E., 
1893, tbe fiber i- called burily, and is said to be hsed for bats, basket-, and cordage. 
Anot her species is noted in Brazil, l/. aculeata, which • produces fibers of admirable 
fineness, resistance, and brilliancy." (See fig. 81.) 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 239 

Mauritius hemp (see Furcrcva gigantea). 
Maurvi (Incl.). Thread of Sansevicria zeylanica. 
Mauve. French name for Malva sylvestris. 
Ma-wewel (Oeyl.). See Calamus rudentum. 
Maximiliana regia. The Inaja Palm. 

Endogen. Palmos. Palm tree, 100 feet. 
Cne of the noldo palms of the Amazon, which is crowned with leaves 30 to 40 feet 
long. The woody spathes are so hard they will stand lire when tilled with water, 




-^Swjt^^^^ ^ 5 ^— 



Fig. 82. — The luaja pwlm, Maximiliana regia. 

and are sometimes employed as cooking utensils. They are also used for transport- 
ing mandioea. There are many other uses of the tree in the domestic economy. 

Structural Fiber. — Extracted from the leaves by the natives and used in the 
manufacture of all kinds of native cordage, hats, etc. 

Mazool (Intl.). See Sansevieria roxburghiana. 
Mbocaya (Arg. Rep.). See Acrocomla total. 
Mecomba. (Apr.). See Brachyster/ia. 
Megasse (see Bagasse). 



240 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Meibomia. See Desmodium. 

Melic grass, purple. Molinia ccerulea. 

Melaleuca armillaris. Swamp Tea Tree. 

Exogen. Myrtacea . Small tree or shrub. 

The genus is represented by several species, for the most part natives of Australia 
and the Indian Ocean. The above species abound in Tasmania. 

Bast Fiber. — The friable lamellar bark can be converted into an excellent blot- 
ting paper — perhaps, also, filtering paper. It is worthy of record that many species 
of this genns yield a very similar bark, formed of innumerable membranous layer-. 
The most gigantic species of the genus, Melaleuca leucadendron, which is common in 
south Asia and tropical Australia, exhibits such a bark, which thus may be turned 
to account. (Dr. Ferd. von Mueller.) 

Melilotus alba. White Sweet Clover. 

Common names. — Also called white melilot and bokbara clover. 

Of Eastern origin, it is now found in Asia, Europe, and North America ; common in 
many portions of the United States, where it may be recognized by its sweet odor, 
particularly when cut. 

Structural Fiber. — This can scarcely be called a fiber plant, though specimens 
of fibrous substance, extracted from its dead stalks, have been sent to the Depart- 
ment. As the stalks sometimes grow to a height of 6 or 7 feet (in Alabama] the 
fiber on the old stalks in the field blowing in the wind are sure to attract attention. 
It might answer for paper stock, though there are many better plants for the purpose. 
Bernardin also enumerates the species in his list. 

Melocanna bambusoides. 

A species of bamboo found in India. Its stems are sometimes beaten into liber for 
various uses. For some of the uses of bamboo see Bamousa. 

Melochia arborea. 

Syn. AT. veluiina. 

Exogen. StercuUacecv. Shrub or small tree. 
Andaman Islands, Malay Archipelago, and Burmah, hotter parts of India, etc. 
Fiber.— This is known as betina-da. It is a bast fiber, which when twisted into a 
stout cord is woven into the turtle nets used by the fishermen of the Andaman 
Islands. {Watt) 

Melodinus monogynus. 

A species of Apocynacew found in Sylhet, which according to Roxburgh, produces 
a >trong, tough fiber. He notes that in steeping the stems in a stream it killed the 
fish. Watt says the fiber is used as a substitute for hemp. 

Merulius lachrymans (see under Polyporus). 
Mesta pat I Hind.). See Ribiscn.s cannabinus. 
Metl (Yuc). Maya name for the Agaves. 
Metroxylon sagu. The Sago Palm. 

Syn. Sagus rumphii. 
This genns of palms comprises six species, natives of the Malay Archipelago. Xew 
Guinea, and Figi. M. sagu, a Dative of the Moluccas, Sumatra, and Borneo, supplies 
a part of the sago of c< mmerce, which is extracted from the pith. It has been called 
"a plant between a fern and a palm." See fig. 83.) 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



241 



Structural Fiber. — Savorgnan states that the plant "is much sought for the 
beauty of its fiber, from which is manufactured cloth as well as very fine mattings. 
A delicate texture is made from the filaments drawn from the young, undeveloped 
leaves. 

Mexican fiber. Agave heteracantha. 

Mexican grass. Name sometimes given to sisal hemp. 

Mexican whisk. Epicampcs ma or our a. 

Miyamoe (Burin.). See Andropogon sqitarrosus. 




Fig. 83.— The Sago palm, Metroxylon sagu. 

Milk ■weed. The Swamp, Asclepias incarnata. 
syriaca, the common . 

Minbaw (Burin.). Caryota urens. 

Mirganjijute (see Corchorus). 

Miriti palm. Same as Muriti. See Mauritia. 

Mitsumata (Jap.). See Edgeivorthia. 

Mocou-mocou. Galadium giganteum. 

Mod, Mad, and Mada. (Ind.). Cocos nucifera. 

Mohti (Hopi). Yucca glauca. 



See also Asclepias 



12247— No. 9- 



-16 



242 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



Molinia caerulea. Purple Melic Grass. 

Also known in England, of which country it is a native, as l>lue moor grass. Has 
been proposed for paper making, and samples of paper stock and finished paper made 
from it are shown in the Kew Mas. It was shown in the Belgian section of the 
Vienna Exposition as a wrapping for Limburger cheese. 

Monguba (Braz.). See Bomba.c munguba. 




Fig. 84. — Leaf of Monstera deliciosa . 

Monkey bass (Braz.). Leopoldinia piassaba. 
Monkey bread tree. (See Adansonia.) 
Monkey pot. Lecythis oil aria. 
Monstera deliciosa. 

Dorca includes this in his manuscript list of the fibers of Peru, the roots having 
been used in that country for ropes. The plant is better known, however, lor it- 
fruit. Frequently found in greenhouses in this country. | See lig. 84.) 

Moonja (Ind.). See Saccharum munja. 
Moorva, or Moorgavee (Ind.) See Sansevieria, 
Moosewood (U. S.). See Dirca palustris. 
Mora hair, Tilhonlsia. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 243 

Moraea robinsoniana. 

An Iris-like plant, known as the wedding flower of Lord Howe's Island. Christy 
mentions that its leaves, Avhich are 5 feet long and 3 inches broad, yield a fine fiber 
by boiling. 

Moriche fiber (Venez.). Mauritia flexuosa. 
Morning glory fiber. (See Ipomcea.) 
Mororo (Braz.). See Bauhinia. 
Morus alba. White Mulbeeey. 

Exogen. Moracew. A tree, 40 to 50 feet. 

Said to be a native of China and the north of India. Its leaves are used as food 
for silkworms, together with M. indica. M. multicaulis is the variety of M. alba 
which was planted so largely in this country many years ago at the time of the 
"multicaulis fever," when an attempt was made to introduce silk culture into the 
United States. 

Bast Fiber. — The bark from twigs of M. alia and M. indica have been employed 
for paper stock in China, and the twigs without maceration have been used in India 
as a tie material. Savorgnan says that the plant has become naturalized in south- 
ern Europe, where it is known as Gelso reale, or royal mulberry, and is suitable for 
paper as well as cordage. M. nigra, cultivated chiefly for its fruit, gives a good fiber, 
said to have been used for cordage. 

Morus rubra. Bed Mulberry. 

Common names. — Red mulberry, black mulberry, Virginia mulberry, Murier 
sauvage. (Fr.) 

Western New England and Long Island, New York, west through southern Ontario 
and central Michigan to Dakota, eastern Nebraska and Kansas, south to Biscayne 
Bay, Florida, and the valley of the Colorado River, Texas. Wood used in fencing, 
for cooperage, etc., and in the South for boat and ship building. 

Bast Fiber. — The fiber of this species is much used by the Indians for the manu- 
facture of ropes, mat6, and baskets. A good cloth is made from the fiber of the 
young shoots. Specimens of the bark and fiber of this species were sent to the 
Department from Missouri, prepared experimentally by Henry Koenig. Both twigs 
and sprouts were used, the former giving the best fiber. Only interesting from the 
botanical standpoint. 

Mound lily (Austr.). Yucca gloriosa. 

Mowana (Afr.). Adansonia digitata. 

Mucuja (Braz.). See Acrocomia lasiospatha. 

Mucuna (Braz). ConirQon name of Mucuna urens. 

Mucuna urens. 

A genus of leguminous plants found chiefly in tropical Asia and America, though 
represented in Africa and the Fiji Islands. "The plants of this genus are well 
known to travelers in tropical countries from the exceedingly annoying character 
of the seed pods, which are thickly covered with stinging hairs easily detached by 
the slightest shake, and causing great irritation if they happen to fall upon exposed 
parts of the body" (Treas. Botany, V. 2). The species named, known as the 
Mucuna in Brazil, furnishes a fiber for very strong ropes. 

Mudar (see Calotropis gigantea). 



244 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Muhlenbergia pungens. 

Endogen. Graminece. A perennial grass, 12 to 18 inches high. 
Common names. — Black grama, Grama China; Native liopi Indian name, Wiigsi, 
from wiigli, woman, sihii, flower, a satiric name. 
Grows abundantly in Nebraska, southward to New Mexico and Arizona, and along 
the Colorado River above Fort Yuma. "A rather rigid perennial, with firm, sharp- 
pointed leaves and open panicles. It has strong, creeping roots, and often does good 
service as a sand hinder. In the sand hills region of Nebraska it grows abundantly 
around the borders of the so-called 'blow-outs,' preventing their extension and 
assisting materially in restoring the turf. In some parts of Arizona where it occurs 
it is a valuable forage plant." (Scribner.) 

Structural Fiber. — "The Hopi women of Arizona use this grass as a brush, the 
same bunch of grass serving a double purpose — with the stiff end they brush the 
hair and with the more flexible tip end they sweep the floor." (./. Walter Fewkes.) 

Muhuba-branca. 

Native name of an unidentified species of timber tree, 30 to 40 feet high, growing 
on the banks of the Amazon. The bark is used for calking canoes. A reddish dye 
is also obtained from the bark, used for coloring fishing lines. 

Muka. 

According to Royle, a native name of New Zealand flax fiber. 

Mulberry. 

The white , Morns alba ; the Indian , M. indica; the black , M, 

nigra ; the red , M. rubra; paper , Broussonetia papyrifera ; Virginia , 

AT. rubra. 

Mummy cloth. 

The linen of ancient Egypt, employed as "winding sheets" for the dead, hundreds 
of yards sometimes being used to wrap a single body. Made from flax. 

Munj grass or Munja (Iiid.). See Saccharum. 
Muntingia calabura. 

Exogen. Tiliaceoz. 

Habitat, tropieal America. It abounds in the West Indies and South America, 
where its wood is valuable for many purposes, and especially for making staves. 
In Venezuela it is known as Majaguillo. 

Bast Fiber. — Specimens were received from the Venezuelan exhibit, Phil. Int. 
Exh., 1876, prepared by Dr. Ernst, who stated that its bark was sometimes used for 
coarse ropes and cordage. Its bast is very soft and pliable, twists easily, and if used 
in this manner, without attempting to separate or clean the fibers, is possessed of 
ordinary strength. The fibrils are exceedingly fine and silky, so much so that the 
bast, when broken, exhibits at the point of rupture the flossy appearance always 
seen at the raw ends of skein or embroidery silk. Separating the fiber would 
undoubtedly diminish its strength. It is employed slightly in Santo Domingo for 
cordage. 

Murarb (Braz.). See Bauliinia splendens. 
Murier. French for mulberry. See Morns. 
Muriti palm (Braz.). See Mauritia vinifera. 
Muru-muru (Braz.). See Astrocaryum murumuru. 
Murdrum (see Muriti, above). 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 245 

Muruva-dul (Oeyl.). Marsdenia tenachsima. 
Musa basjoo. The Banana of Japan. 

Exogen. Musacea 1 . 

The species of this genus abound in the tropical and subtropical regions of both 
hemispheres, and supply the fruits known :is the banana and the plantain. The 
genus includes one of the most important commercial fibers, the manila hemp, M. 
tertilis, which is described in its appropriate place. M. basjoo is cultivated in Japan 
where its fiber is also produced commercially. 

Structural Fiber. — Beautiful examples were received from the Japan court, W. 
C. E., 1893, together with specimens of the native cloths made from it. The liber is 
a light salmon in color; is 4 to 5 feet long, bright and lustrous, and possesses fair 
strength. Regarding the specimens of cloth, I learn that the forms labeled " Yec- 
higo chijimi (a) and Okinawa jyofu (b) are used for summer dresses of the higher 
classes of Japanese. Bashofu (c) is not used for cloth, but for ornamental bordering 
of " Kakemo," and in place of wall paper, etc." 

Economic considerations. — In the descriptive catalogue of the exhibit it is 
stated that the banana is only grown commercially in Okinawa prefecture, " though 
it is widely distributed in the districts in the temperate zone where they are planted 
for ornamenting gardens only, accordingly, the annual produce of the fiber is not so 
great. The fiber is white in color and coarse to the touch. It is woven into cloth 
known by the name "Bashofu," which is highly esteemed for undershirts for sum- 
mer, as it is lighter by about three-fourths to three-fifths of the weight of hemp and 
flax, and does not stick to the skin when perspiring." 

Musa sapientum. The Common Banana. 

This species and M. paradisiaca are, respectively, the banana and plantain of trop- 
ical America, Asia, and Africa, in which countries they have been cultivated from 
remote times, and where they are especially prized for their fruit. This article of 
food is so well known, however, both in its fresh state and as plantain meal, that 
its importance to the natives of the tropics need not be dilated upon here. These 
species abound everywhere in tropical America, from Florida, in the United States, 
through Central America and the West Indies to subtropical South America. While 
some writers have considered the banana and plantain as distinct species, the later 
botanical authorities as a rule have accepted the species M. sapientum as embracing 
both forms. The number of cultivated races, however, which bear fruits differing 
widely in appearance and quality is very large. 

Structural Fiber. — The Department collection is rich in specimens of banana 
fiber received in the past few years from many localities, though I do not know that 
the fiber is at present produced in commercial quantity anywhere in the three Amer- 
icas. The fiber from the stalks of Florida-grown plants that I have extracted by 
machinery is very weak. Specimens from farther southward are better, though still 
do not approach in strength the fiber of manila hemp. In Mexico and Costa Rica, 
M. sapientum is known as platano, but in Venezuela, according to Dr. Ernst, M. para- 
disiaea is known as the platano and M. sapientum as the guineo. In the New South 
Wales Catalogue (Phil. Int. Exh., 1876), it is stated that "Musa sapientum, so gen- 
erally planted in New South Wales for its fruit, yields a fiber second only in value 
of its kind to that of the manila hemp, which is obtained from Musa textilis." 

Speaking of M. paradisiaca, Forbes Royle says there is no doubt that the large cul- 
tivated plantain of India contains a considerable quantity of strong fiber, in the 
same way "that the yellow plantain does in Jamaica," and it seems worthy of inquiry 
whether the wild and useless plantain growing at the foot of the Himalayas "may 
not yield a stronger fiber than any of the cultivated kinds." A very full and com- 
plete account of this industry is given in Simmonds's Commercial Products of the 
Vegetable Kingdom by a correspondent in Jamaica. The plantain may be considered 
a valuable plant for paper making, and its .fiber might possibly be extracted for this 



246 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 




purpose alone at a considerable profit. Dr. Royle suggested utilizing the plant for 
this purpose in India nearly forty years ago. 

As to the strength of plantain fiber, experiments by Dr. Royle gave most satisfac- 
tory results. Fiber from Madras bore a weight of 190 pounds, while a specimen 
from Singapore stood a strain of 360 pounds, and Russian hemp bore 190 pounds. 
"A twelve-thread rope of (India) plantain fiber broke with 864 pounds, when :i 
single rope of pineapple broke with 924 pounds.'" Compared with English hemp and 
manila (see experiments in tenacity, under head of Musa textilis), a rope 3£ inches 
in circumference and 2 fathoms long, made in Madras in 1850, gave the follow- 
ing results: The plantain, dry, broke at 2,330 pounds alter immersion in water 

^_^ twenty-four hours; tested seven 

/ j8 <l ;ivs after. 2,387; and after ten 

ip jgljf days" immersion, 2,050. Manila 

'~~>x J| jjlr rope and English hemp dry, gave 

^lIlBk ^ Jll 4,669 and 3,8*5 pounds, respec- 

tively. Though common plan- 
tain fiber is not possessed of the 
strength of manila hemp, yet it 
is fitted for many purposes of 
cordage and canvas, and some of 
the liner kinds for textile fabrics 
"of fine quality and lnster." 

ECONOMN < ONSIDERATIONS.— 

The correspondence with the De- 
partment regarding the utiliza- 
tion of banana fiber in Florida 
has been quite large, many speci- 
mens have been sent in, and inter- 
esting statements regarding the 
possible production of the fiber 
have been made that I regret can 
not be produced in this limited 
space. In 1891 Mr. St. Hill, of 
Trinidad, sent specimens of both 
forms of fiber to the Department, 
and states that from 5 to 6 pounds 
can be produced from each stalk. 
The stalks grow 8 to 9 feet high, 
and 800 of Them maybe produced 
on an acre of ground. Muta 
paradisiaca grows \ toSfeethigb, 
produces 2 to 3 pounds of fiber to 
the stalk, 800 stalks to the acre. 
It is the same as the plantain, except that it is less in size and quantity, and is pre- 
pared in the same way. 

J. H. Hart, director of the Trinidad Botanical Gardens, says that the fiber can be 
prepared from the stems by any of the ordinary scraping machines now in use. '1 'he 
chief difficulty with the extracting is the large percentage of water in the stem. 

Extraction of the fiber. — Forty years ago or more the production of banana 
and plantain liber must have been a considerable industry in Jamaica. In the < !om- 
mercial Products of the Vegetable Kingdom, by P. L. Simmonds London, 1854 . is 
given an exhaustive accountof the cultivation, harvesting, and extraction of banana 
fiber, furnished by a Jamaican correspondent, from which it is gleaned that 100 
pounds of stalk will give about 15 pounds of fiber, net weight, and when a whole 
tree furnishes 1 pounds of fiber one-fourth <>f the quantity is derive 1 from the stalks. 
< toe hundred plantain trees can l>e crushed in twenty minutes with one horse, allow- 



Fig. 85. — The banana, or plantain. Mia a tapu ntum, 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 247 

iug live minutes for rest. After crushing, the fiber was boiled to separate the gluten 
and coloring matter, carbonate of soda and quicklime being used as chemical agents. 
To make 3 tons of fiber a day it was necessary to have four boilers of 800 gallons 
each, and to give 5 boilings in a day, which amounted to 1,650 pounds of net liber 
for each boiler, or 6,650 pounds for the four boilers. About 300 pounds of soda were 
required and a proportionate amount of quicklime. As the different grades of fiber 
were pressed separately they were also kept separate in the process of boiling, the 
lighter fibers requiring about six hours to bleach, while the darkest required fully 
eighteen. A capital of $25,000 was required for carrying on the cultivation of the 
plantain on an extensive scale, 18 tons of fiber being produced on 5£ acres at a cost 
of $870, or a little more than $48 per ton. From official statements it would seem 
that no such industry has existed in Jamaica in late years, as it is said that 2,000,000 
banana stems are cut down annually, after the fruit harvest, " without any attempt 
being made to utilize the fiber they contain." 

The Bulletin of the Royal Kew Gardens, for August, 1894, contains a valuable 
summary of information relating to bananas and plantains, from which the brief 
extracts which follow have been taken: 

"In Jamaica a series of experiments, undertaken by Mr. Morris in 1884, showed the 
plantain fiber (Musa sapientum var. paradisiaca) was whiter and finer than ordinary 
banana fiber and that it approached more nearly to the fine glossy character of ma- 
nila hemp. A banana stem weighing 108 pounds yielded 25 ounces of cleaned fiber, 
or at the rate of 1.44 per cent of the gross weight. A plantain stem weighing 25 
pounds yielded 7J ounces of cleaned fiber. This was at the rate of 1.81 per cent on 
the gross weight. A sample of fiber prepared from a red banana at Trinidad in 1886 
was valued in London at £24 to £25 per ton. Usually, however, banana fibers are 
not worth more than £12 to £15 per ton. They would only fetch even these prices 
when there is a high demand for ' white-hemp fibers,' and there happens to be a short 
supply of manila and sisal hemps. 

"Mr. A. D. van Gon Netscher, when proprietor of plantation Klein Pouderoyen, on 
the west bank of the River Demerara, in 1855, furnished the following interesting 
particulars relative to fiber from the plantain : The experience of ten years on a 
cultivation of from 400 to 480 acres in plantains has shown that: 1. On every acre 
from 700 to 800 stems are cut per annum, either for the fruit, or in consequence of 
having been blown down by high winds, or from disease or other reasons. 2. The 
planting of the suckers at distances of 8 feet apart has never been tried, but I am of 
opinion that if so planted and cut down every eight months, for the stem alone, an 
acre would give from 1,400 to 1,500 good stems every cutting, or about 4,500 in two 
years. 3. On plantation Klein Pouderoyen, after repeated trials, the plantain stem 
on an average has been found to give 2^ pounds clean, and 1\ pounds discolored and 
broken fiber, the latter only fit for coarse paper. This result, however, has been 
obtained by very imperfect machinery. 4. The average weight of the plantain stem 
is 80 pounds. 5. The stems can be transported from the field to the buildings for $1 
per 100." 

Banana fibers from Musa sapientum are shown in the Kew Mus. from the Anda- 
man Islands, Jamaica, Mauritius, Ceylon, British Guiana, Madras, Australia. The 
Jamaica samples cleaned by the late Nathaniel Wilson are of excellent quality. A 
sample from British Guiana was valued in 1892 at £25 per ton, but usually the price 
is much lower, and when other fibers, such as manila and sisal hemps, are low, banana 
fiber is practically unsalable. 

Fiber extracted from the Abyssinian banana (Musa cnsete) at Jamaica by Mr. 
Morris yielded at the rate of 1.16 per cent of the gross weight. The fiber was some- 
what weak and dull looking; it had none of the luster of the best plantain fiber, and 
it was valued in London at £12 to £14 per ton. 

* Specimens of fiber and cloth, Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. ; U. S. Nat. Mus. 

Musa paradisiaca (see Musa sapientum). 



248 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WOULD. 

Musa textilis. Manila Hemp. Wild Plantain. 

Native of the Philippine Islands, where there are about 12 different varieties of the 
plant under cultivation. Spon states that the largest areas are grown in the provinces 
of Camarines ind Albay, in the south of Luzon. Smaller areas arc on the islands of 
Samar Leyte", Cebu, and Mindaneo. Plants are said to be found in Borneo and Java. 

Native and common names. — Abaca (Phil. Is.j: Piwangulan. (Malay) j Manila 
and Cebn hemps (English and commercial ). 

The Department made an effort to introduce this plant into Florida about 1890 
The seed was well distributed, hut no reports were received further than that it 
failed to germinate. Attempts to introduce the plant into the West Indies have also 
proved unsuccessful. 

Structural fiber.— The fiber is white and lustrous, easily separated, Stiff and 
very tenacious, and also very light, which is a great advantage when the fiber is 
used for the rigging and running ropes of ships. Viewed microscopically the bun- 
dles of fibers are very large, but are readily separated into smooth hhers of even 
diameter after the alkaline bath. The central cavity is large and very apparent, 
the walls being of uniform thickness. The ends grow slender gradually and regu- 
larlv. The detached sections (cross sections) appear irregularly round or oval in 
shape, and the central cavity is very open and jirominent. As to tenacity, compared 
with English hemp, it stands as follows: A rope of manila 3J inches in circumfer- 
ence and 2 fathoms long stood a strain of 4,669 pounds before giving way, while a 
similar rope of English hemp broke with 3.885 pounds. A second test of rope If 
inches in circumference, and the same length, gave 1,490 pounds for the manila and 
1,184 pounds for the English hemp. 

A large aud valuable collection of abaca or manila hemp was received at the 
Phil. Int. Exh., 1876, comprising a large, portion of the fiber exhibit of the Philip- 
pine Isles. The fiber is exhibited in different stages, as well as samples of abaca 
cloth and the manufactures from it. Other samples were received from the 'Queens- 
land exhibit, prepared by Alexander McPherson, as well as from the other interna- 
tional exhibitions held since that time. 

While the hemp is called abaca by the natives of the Philippine Isles, other names 
are given to the different qualities of fiber, as bandala, which appears to lie the 
harder and stronger outer fiber, which is used for cordage. The finer fibers of 
the inner layer are called lupis, and are employed in weaving delicate fabrics, while 
the intermediate layers furnish the aupoz, which enters into the manufacture of the 
web cloths and gauzes. The natives distinguish the several varieties of the plant 
as follows: Abaca brava, or the wild abaca, called by the Bicoles agotai] the moun- 
tain abaca, which is used for making ropes, called agotar/ and amoquid; the sagag 
of the Bisayas; the laquis of the Bisayas. by whom the fibers of the original al>aca 
are called la/not. 

Uses of the Fiber. — The manufacture of manila hemp in this country is for the 
most part confined to binding twine and cordage. Mr. Joseph Chisholm, a veteran 
manufacturer of Salem. Mass.. states that manila hemp began to be used exten- 
sively in this country, in Salem and Boston, in 1824 to 1S27. In 1820 a sample was 
brought to the first-mentioned city by John White, a lieutenant in the United States 
Navy, on the brig Elizabeth. 

The fiber is imported in bales of 270 pounds, costing at present about 44 cents per 
pound: January, 1890, 11 cents per pound. One New York manufactory used in 
1879 41,366,710 pounds of this fiber, equivalent to 153,173 bales. While American- 
manufactured manila goes into the rigging of vessels or is used on shipboard, it also 
finds use for every purpose for which rope is employed. In regard to the capability 
of the abaca for the manufacture of fine fabrics. M. Perrouttel. a French botanist, in 
theAunales Maritimes et Coloniales da France, states that from the liner sorts of the 
liber tissues or muslins are made of great beauty, which are very dear, even in Manila. 
He says: I had a number of shirts made from the muslin, which lasted me a very 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 249 

long time, and were cool and agreeable in the use. But it is especially in France 
that tissues of this material are best made and of the greatest beauty. They receive 
all colors with equal perfection. Veils, crapes, neckerchiefs, robes, and women's 
hats — all of great beauty and high cost, as well as of wonderful durability — are 
among the manufactures from the fiber of abaca. Besides these are various articles 
of men's wear, such as shirts, vests, pantaloons, etc. 

Cultivation. — The cultivation of the plant is simple. In Albay and Camarines 
the finest growth is obtained on the slopes of the volcanic mountains, in open glades 
of the forest, where shade falls from the neighboring trees. On exposed level land 
the plants do not thrive so well, and in marshy ground not at all. The necessary 
conditions seem to be shade and abundant moisture, with good drainage. Too rich 
a soil tends to jiroduce luxuriant leaves with a diminution of fiber. In laying out a 
new plantation use is generally made of the young shoots, which very quickly throw 
up suckers from the roots. In favorable situations 10 feet is the usual distance 
between the plants ; in poor soil, 6 feet. During the first season weeds and under- 
growth must be kept down ; afterwards the vitality of the plants serves to exter- 
minate other growths. The forest shade also is no longer necessary, the leaves pro- 
tecting the buds from the sun. In exceptional instances the plants are raised from 
seed. The ripe (but not overripe) fruit is cut off and dried. Two days before sow- 
ing the kernels are removed and steeped in water over night. Next day they are 
dried in a shady place, and on the following day are sown in boles 1 inch deep in 
fresh, unbroken, and well-shaded forest land, allowing 6 inches between the plants 
and between the rows. After a year, the seedlings, then about 2 feet high, are 
planted out and tended in the same way as suckers, care being taken to keep the 
soil heaped up around the stem. The plants raised from suckers require four years 
before producing fiber of any value; those raised from year-old seedlings need at 
least two years. (Spon's Enc). 

Extracting the Fiber. — The abaca is cut when 2 to 4 years old, just before its 
flowering or fructification is likely to appear. If cut earlier, the fibers are said to 
be shorter but finer. It is cut near the roots, and the leaves cut off just below their 
expansion. It is then slit open longitudinally and the central peduncle separated 
from the sheathing layers of fibers, which, in short, are the petioles of the leaves. 

The fibrous coats, when stripped off, are left for a day or two in the shade to dry, 
and are then divided lengthwise into strips 3 inches wide. They are then scraped 
with an instrument made of bamboo until only the fibers remain. When sufficiently 
scraped, the bundles of fibers maybe shaken into separate threads, after which they 
are sometimes washed, then dried and picked, the finest being separated by women, 
with great dexterity. After the fiber has been cleaned in this manner, it is ready for 
the manufacture of cordage and for all purposes where a coarse fiber is employed. 
The fine fiber, however, which is to be used for weaving, undergoes a still further 
operation of beating, which is performed with a wooden mallet, which renders the 
fiber soft and pliable, it having first been made up into bundles. The separate fila- 
ments are then fastened together at their ends by gumming, it is wound into balls, and 
is then ready for the loom. Sometimes it is dressed like flax, on a kind of hackle, 
and afterwards washed many times in running water until perfectly free from all 
extraneous matter, after which it is hung over poles or ropes to dry. Two men will 
cut and scrape about 25 pounds of the fiber in a day, the man that cuts the trees 
transporting them, stripping the layers, and cleaning the scraped fiber, though it is 
thought this is above the average. "From 150 to 200 trees are required to produce 
1 picul, or 140 pounds of fiber, or 3,200 trees for a ton of 2,240 pounds." Thus an 
Indian prepares only about 12 pounds of fiber per day, for which he receives his half 
share, 18 cents, which is the value of 6 pounds of the hemp, "yet this insignificant 
pittance suffices for the wants of himself and family." Spon states that a plantation 
of mature shrubs will yield about 30 hundredweight of fiber per acre annually. For 
further information relating to the fiber of this and other species of plantains and 
bananas, see summary in the Kew Bulletin for August, 1894, previously referred to. 



250 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Musk mallow (see Hibiscus abelmoschus). 

Musk ochra. Hibiscus moscheutos. 

Nai (Pers.). See Bambusa arundinacea. 

Naha (Ceyl.). See Lasiosiphon eriocephalus. 

Nali and Nalela (Inrt.). Hibiscus cannabinus. 

Nalika (Hind.). Hibiscus cannabinus. 

Nalita pat (Ind.). See Corchorus. 

Nangka (Java). Artocarpus. 

Nangsi (Java). Boehmeria. 

Nanat (Burm.). Ananas sativa. 

Nannorhops ritchieana. 

Endogen. Palmas. Stemless gregarious shrub. 
India and portions of Asia, where the plant is about 14 feet high. Dr. Watt men- 
tions that mattings, fans, baskets, hats, and shoes or sandals are made from the 
leaves and leaf stalks. It was once used as a material for a rope bridge across the 
Jhelum, in place of rnunj (Saccharum), but proved an inferior substitute. "Scurf 
from the bases of the leaves (surface fiber) is used as tinder for matchlocks.'' 

Nape (Tahiti). Cocos nudfera. 
Nar (Ind.) = Fragrant. 
Nara-woel (Ceyl.). Naravelia. 
Narainganji jute (see Corchorus). 
Naravali and Narvilli (Ind.). See Cordia. 

Naravelia zeylanica. 

Exogen. Ranunculacece. 

Ascandent shrub of India, Ceylon, and otherregions, the stems of which are roughly 
twisted into useful ropes. 

Narel, naryal, etc. (Ind.). Cocos nudfera. 

The Die. Ec. Prod. Ind. gives over 100 vernacular names of the cocoanut, among 
which are ndriel (Hind.); ndrikel (Beng.); naliyer and ndryal (Guj.); naril, neutral 
(Bomb.) : ndralmdd and mahad CSlaT .) ; narilcadam (Tel.) : narjil (Arab.) : nargil (Pers.) ; 
nur (Mysore) : ndri-kera (Sans.) ; etc. ; others are formed from totally different roots. 

Narnuli (Ind.). See Cordia angustifolia. 

Neigella cloth. Fabric from sunn lieinp. Crotalaria juncea. 

Nelumbium speciosum. The Sacred Lotus. 

This aquatic herb, with rosy, red, or white flowers, abounds in Africa and Asia. 
It iv found in ail parts of India. 

Bast Fiber.— The long stalks of the lotus yield a sort of yellowish-white fiber, 
which is used principally for the wicks of sacred lamps in Hindu temples; and the 
Hindu doctors are of the opinion that the (loth prepared from this liber acts medic- 
inally as a febrifuge. (1 >ic. Ec. Prod. Ind., Vol. V.) 

Nepal paper plant. Daphne cannabina. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 251 

Nepenthes distillatoria. Pitcher Plant. 

Exogen. Xepenthaceiv. Evergreen undershrub. 

There are about 20 species of this genus, natives of Borneo, Sumatra, and the 
Indian Archipelago, X. distillatoria being found in Ceylon. The pitchers of this 
species are partly filled with water before they open ; hence the specific name. In 
Ceylon it grows in great abundance in wet low country, particularly where the wet 
ground has a sandy bottom. The plants trail over trees and bushes. 

Woody Fiber. — This is called "one of the most useful cordage plants of Ceylon." 
Tl.e trailing stems afford cords known by the native name bandura-wel. "It is used 
very largely in building fences, walls, and sometimes in fixing the rafters of native 
cottages. In the manufacture of baskets it plays an important part, its pliability 
rendering it extremely easy to manipulate. " (Handbook of Ceylon, W. C. E., 1893.) 

Nesselhanf. German name for Urtica spp. 
Nettle. 

The nettles may be separated into the stinging and stingless forms ; Urtica is an 
example of the former, Boehmeria of the latter. Other genera of nettles are Girard- 

inia, Luportea, Urera, etc. The fever , Laportea crenulata; gigantic of 

Australia, L. gigas ; of India, Celtis caucasica or australis ; The Nilghiri , Girard- 

inia palmata ; the stinging of Europe, Urtica dioca; of the United States, U. 

gracilis; the stingless , common name of the China grass and ramie plants, 

Boehmeria nivea and tenacissima. 

New Orleans moss (see Tillandsia). 
New Zealand flax (see Phormium tenax). 
Neyanda fiber (Ceyl.). See Sansevieria guineensis. 
Ngutunui (New Zea.). See Phormium. 
Nidularium (see Karatas). 
Niggi (Ind.). Daphne cannabina. 
Nilghiri nettle (see Girardinia palmata), 
Nin (Hawaii). Cocos nucifera. 
Nipa fruticans. The Kip ah Palm. 

Endogen. Palmce. 
Portions of India and the Andaman Islands, in the river estuaries and tide lands. 
Dr. Watt states that the leaves are used for thatching houses and for mattings. 
Hats and cigar cases are made of the fronds. The palm has other economic uses, as 
for food, spirits, etc. Cigarette wrappers are made of the leaves, and commonly 
used in Malacca. 

Nipah palm (see the preceding). 
Niyanda (Oeyl.). See Sansevieria guineensis. 
Noix d'Areca (see Areca catechu.) 
Nolina spp. 

The plants of this genus resemble those of Dasylirion, the leaves being long and 
narrow, and finely serrated on the edges. They abound in the Southwestern United 
States where the Yuccas are found most common. 

Structural Fiber. — U N. texana, N. lindhelmeriana, and N. microcarpa, of the South- 
west, all have abundant narrow leaves, strong and flexible, much used by Mexicans 



252 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



for thatching, basketry, matting, and brooms; I do not know that the separated 
fiber lias ever been examined" (Dr. Havard). In the Department collection the genus 
is represented by a single species, X microcarpa, the leaves being very slender and 
fibrous. 

Nona (Beng.). See Anona reticulata. 

Oadal (Ind.). See Sterculia villosa. 

Ochroma lagopus. Corkwood Tree. 

Exogen. StercuJiaceo-. Tree, 40 feet. 
West Indies, Central and South America. Is known as Balsa in Spanish-speaking 
countries. The soft, spongy wood of this species is used in Jamaica as a substitute 

for corks, and as floats for fish- 
ing nets. 

Surface Fiber.— The fruit, 
or seed pod, which is about a 
foot in length, contains a vege- 
table silk, or silk cotton, that 
may be used in stuffing pil- 
lows and the like. Five speci- 
mens of this substance were 
exhibited in the Venezuelan 
and Costa Rican courts, W. C. 
E., 1893. The fiber is an ocher 
red in color, is very coarse and 
of little strength, though it 
might, if easily obtained, be 
useful for mattings and cord- 
age requiring little strain. 

Ocimum basilicum. 
Sweet Basil. 

A common herb of India, 
grown for its seeds. "It is cul- 
tivated to a small extent in the 
western portion of the Hoo^hly 
district on account of the strong 
fiber it yields for rope mak- 
ing." (Spon.) Doubted by Dr. 
Watt. 

Ocotea sieberi. 

A genus of Lauraceo . chiefly 
large trees inhabiting tropical 
America. This species, former- 
ly Orcodaplme cernua, is found in Mexico and portions of South America. In Trini- 
dad it is known as J>ois ceip. "The liber is very strong, stands water well, and 
would be good for twine making. A tree will produce 2 to 3 pounds of liber 1 to ti 
feet long/' (St. Hill.) 

Odina wodier. 

A species of Anacardiacece, a tree 40 to 50 feet, which grows in the hotter portions 
of India. The bark yields a coarse cordage liber. 
* Specimen. — Bot. Mus. Ifarv. Univ. 




^m^ 



Fig. 86.— The Baccaba, (Enocarpus bacaba. 



Oelta kamal (Ind.). See Abroma augusta. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



253 



CEnocarpus bacaba. The Turu Palm, or Baccaba. 

There are six or seven species of this genus of Brazilian palms, the plants abound- 
ing chiefly on the banks of the Amazon and Orinoco rivers. They are lofty trees, 
with smooth, straight stems, crowned with a cluster of pinnate leaves. The ahove 
species yields a Piassaba-like fiber. In some parts of British Guiana, where the tree 
is known as the Turu palm, the leaves are used for thatching. (E. bataua is found in 
the State of Para, where it is said "to furnish the strongest ropes for the navy." 
(E. distichus is an allied species, mentioned by Orton, and Euterpe (CEnocarpus) acu- 
minata is the Anonillo of Costa Rica. 
Several of the species yield a color- 
less oil, which is used to adulterate 
sweet oil in Para. See figs. £6 and 87. 

Oetan ( Malay )= wild, or per 
taining to forests. 

Elceis 



Oil Palm of Africa. 



gmneensis. 

Oi-moi (China). Jute. See 
Corchorus. 

Oiselle hemp (see Hibiscus 
sabdariffa). 

Okra and Okrho (see Hibiscus 
esculentus). 

Olona fiber (Hawaii). See 
Touchardia. 

Op-nai (Burm.). Streblus 
asper. 

Opuhe (Hawaii). See Urera 
sandivicensis. 

Opuritia spp. Prickly Pear , 

The prickly pears form a large 
genus, confined to the American 
continent, though distributed to 
many other countries. 0. polycan- 
tha is the species most common in 
western United States, while 0. humifusa is fouud in Florida. 0. dillenii, a South 
American species, has been noted as a possible fiber plant iu India, but "the sam- 
ples of fiber shown at the Colonial and Indian exhibitions were pronounced worthless 
by the paper makers who examined them." (Dr. Watt.) The experience of the writer 
with the prickly pear cactus in Florida leads to the suggestion that the mere gather- 
ing of the material would be a costly operation. 

Oreodoxa regia. Eoyal Palm. 

Endogen. Palmce. A noble palm, 60 to 90 feet. 

The magnificent palm is met with in certain localities in Florida, chiefly " Little 
and Big Palm Hummocks/' 15 and 25 miles east of Cape Romano, and also on Elliott's 
Key. Grows in the West Indies, where it is known as Palma Real. The genus 
Oreodoxa includes six species of graceful palms indigenous to tropical America. 

Structural Fiber. — Not used in Florida for any purpose; quite rare. Dr. Parry, 




Fig. 



The Patawa, CEnocarpus bataua. 
old trees. 



Young and 



254 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD, 

who brought the museum specimens from Santo Domingo, says the large sheaths of 
the leaves supply material for thatching and lining the sides of houses. It is also 
used for lioor matting and coarse baskets. The external ring of hard woody fibers 
on the main stem is pressed out into thin sheathing boards. The fruit of the species 
is in common use on the island for feeding hogs and cattle. Dr. Smith, in the Treas- 
ury of Botany, mentions 0. oleracea, the West Indian cabbage palm, which some- 
times attains a height of 100 feet. The semicylindrical portion of the leaf stalks are 
formed into cradles for negro children, and the inside skin peeled off while green 
produces a kind of vellum, which will take ink. 

Orme d'Amerique (Jam.). See Guazuma. 
Orthanthera viminea. 

Exogen. Asclepiadacea. A shrub. 
This plant, belonging to the milk-weed family, grows near the foot of the Hima- 
layan Mountains, its long, slender, leafless, wand-like steins, 10 feet or more in length, 
furnishing a bast fiber of remarkable tenacity, suitable for rope making. "In Sind 
the unsteeped stalks are made into ropes for Persian wheels, a purpose for which 
they are admirably adapted as they do not rot readily from moisture." (Dr. Watt.) 

Ortie blanch, etc. (see Boehmeria nivea). 
Oryza sativa. Common Rice. 

Endogen. Gramlnea?. A grass. 

The rice plant of commerce is supposed to be of Asiatic origin, though it is said to 
have been found, apparently in a wild state, in South America. As is well known, 
rice is the principal food of the laboring classes of China, India, and the Indian 
Archipelago, and forms the entire food of many people. As it is a marsh plant, it 
requires flooding with water, when under cultivation, to produce the best results. 
In this country it is grown as a food plant, chiefly in the lower pine belt, extending 
from 80 to 100 miles inland from the coast, from Virginia down along the Atlantic 
and Gulf coasts. "The plant was probably introduced into the United States about 
the year 1693, by Thomas Smith. It is said to have been grown successfully in Eng- 
land, Germany, and even in the colder parts of Siberia." (Prof. Milton Whitney.) 

Fiber. — Its straw is chiefly used as a fiber product in Eastern countries. In the 
Japan exhibit, W. C. E., 1893, there was a very full series of samples of rice straw, 
rice-straw pulp and paper, and rice-straw plait, the latter made by inmates of the 
prison at Yamaguchi. It is worthy of note that this by-product in Japan amounts 
to not less than 15,270,000 tons annually. It is utilized in various ways, such as in 
bags for keeping and transporting cereals, root crops, etc., for making various kinds 
of ropes and cordage, mats, ll Alino" or rain coats, sandals known as "Zori" and 
"Waraji," thatching roofs, making summer hats and other straw work. It is also 
largely used both as fodder and litter for horses and cattle. 

"It has recently been chiefly consumed in manufacturing straw pulp, which, 
mixed with other kinds of fibers, is largely used for manufacturing printing paper. 
Until a few years ago, nearly all printing paper used for newspapers, journals, etc.. 
was imported from foreign countries, but at present almost all demands are sup- 
plied with the homemade article, and there is every hope that in future, it may be 
exported to foreign countries, on account of its cheapness and the ease of obtaining 
the materials."' Straw plait is also made in Japan from barley straw see Hordeum . 

Rice straw does not appear to be used in India, and little progress has been made 
toward its employment for any purpose in that country. Indeed, Dr. Watt states 
that the straw and roots are too valuable to the cultivators to offer for sale, as they 
are generally left To enrich the soil for the next crop. 

Osiers (sec Salix). 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 255 

Oteri (New Guin.). Cocos nucifera. 
Oulemari (Fr. Guian.). See Gouratari. 
Ovao (Tahiti). Wikstroe7nia foetid a. 
Ozonium auricomum (see under Fomes). 
Paat, and Pat (Ind.). Jute. See Corchorus. 
Pachira alba. 

This plant is the best known representative of a tropical American genus of Sier- 
culiacece, allied to Adansonia, the baobab tree of Africa. The fruit is an oval, woody 
single-celled capsule, with a number of divisions and containing numerous seeds, 
covered more or less with down or seed hairs, forming a head of vegetable wool. 

Fiber. — These plants yield both bast and surface fibers, the former in the bark, 
the latter in their seed vessels. P. alba is a New Granada species that is said to 
"furnish the entire country with cordage, both strong and durable." 

Among other species may be mentioned P. barrigon, Panama, the seed hairs of 
which are used to stuff pillows and cushions. P. insignis is a small West Indian form 
mentioned as a fiber plant in the Flax and Hemp Commission list. Savorgnan enu- 
merates P. aquatica from Martinique. "Fiber from the bark used for fishing nets 
and ship cables, and wadding is made from the down of the seeds." 

The Mexican fiber known as Majagua clavellina is said by Dr. Ernst to be produced 
from P. fastuosa, referred to by Oliva in La Naturaleza, v. 89, as Carolinea fastuosa. 
The genus Carolinea was erected by the younger Linnaeus, but, by the law of priority, 
botanists usually accept Pachira. 

Pachyrhizus angulatus. Short-Podded Yam Bean. 

This valuable economic plant is widely cultivated in the Tropics of both hemi- 
spheres, and yields tuberous edible roots as well as pods. Like many other species 
of the Leguminosse, its stems are fibrous. The plant is known on the Fiji Islands as 
Yala or Wayaka, and from its twining stems a tough fiber is produced that is used 
in making fishing nets. See Kew Bull., May, 1889. Compare Dolichos trilobus. 

Pacoa (Is. Eeunion). Pandanus utilis. 
Paederia fcetida. 

An Indian climbing plant, of the Bubiaceo?, which has recently attracted considera- 
ble attention, as it yields a strong flexible fiber, silk-like in appearance. Indian 
name, Beclolee sutta. 

The plant could doubtless be cultivated; moreover the supply of wild plants 
would not readily be exhausted, as on the plains, where they thrive best, the grass 
is burned down annually, and, during the rains, the roots throw up fresh shoots. The 
proper time for collecting the plant is the cold or dry season; during the rains the 
fiber comes off dirty and discolored. The stem is divided into sections, a joint occur- 
ring at every 12 to 24 inches. The cut stems, while still green, are divided at the 
joints, and the fiber is removed in the following way: The operator takes each sec- 
tion in both hands, and twists it as much as possible, to disengage the fibers, having 
first carefully stripped off all the bark of the stem. He then disengages at one end 
enough of the fiber to take hold of, and gradually strips it entirely away. The proc- 
ess would be too slow, laborious, and costly for commercial purposes. Machinery 
has not yet been applied to it. Probably a pair of crushing rollers and a simple 
scutching apparatus would suffice. (Spon.) 

Paglia di capelli (It.) (Straw-plait). See Triticum. 

Paina (Braz.) = Silk Cotton. See Bombax and Eriodendron. 



256 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Palm fiber. 

The principal palms from which fiber, or fibrous material, has been obtained are 
as follows: Assai . Euterpe edulis ; Bamboo , Baphia vinifera; Betel- 
nut , Areca catechu; Booba (see Iriartea) ; Broom , Atialea funif- 

era and Thrinax argentea ; Busu . Manicaria saccifera ; Cabbage , Euterpe 

oleracea ; Cabbage of Australia. Livistona australis ; Car ana , Maurilia 

carana; Carnauba, or Brazilian wax , Copernicia cerifera; Catechu . 

Areca catechu; Chusan , Traehy carpus fortune* ; Cocoauut , Cocos nucif- 

era; Cokerite, or Kokerite , Maximiliana regia; Coquito , Jubaa specla- 

bilis; Curua , Atialea spectabilis; Date , Phamtx dactylifera; Doom, or 

Doum , Hyphane thebaica; Double coeoauut , Lodoicea callipyge; 

Dragon's Blood , Dracana draco ; Fan , Chamaerops humilis, (see also Pal- 
metto) ; Gebang , Corypha gebanga; Gomuti, or Gomuto , Arenga saceha- 

rifera; Hemp , or Indian , Trachycarpus excclsus ; Eta, or Ita , 

Mauritia flexuosa ; Id — , Astrocaryum acaule ; Ivory , Phytelepha* macro- 

carpa; Jamaica , Sabal blaclcbumiana ; Jara , Leopoldinia pulchra; 

Jnpati , Baphia tadigera : Macaw and Great Macaw , Acrocomia lasio- 

spath a and A . sclerocarpa : Miriti , Mauritia Jlexnosa ; Murumuni , Astro- 
carijum murumuru; Nipah , Xipa fruticans; Oil , Elans guineeusis ; Pal- 
metto (see Sabal and Serenoa) ; Palmyra , Borassus flabellifer; 

Pashiuba, or Paxiuba , Iriartea exorrhiza; Bataiia , (Pilocarpus ; Peach 

, GuUielma spcciosa ; Piassaba , Atialea funifera and Leopoldinia piassaba 

(see Piassaba in Catal.) ; Pinang , Areca catechu; Raffia , Baphia ruffia; 

Rattan , Calamus rotang, C. rndcntum, and other species; Royal , Orco- 

doxa regia; Sago , Metroxglon sagu (see also Sago in Catalogue); Silver 

thatch , Thrinax argentea; Talipot , Corypha umbraeulif era ; Thatch , 

Sabal blaclcbumiana ; Tecuma , Astrocaryum tucuma; Tucum . A. vulgare: 

Wine , Cocos butyracea and Caryota urens ; Wine , of Para, Mauritia 

vinifera; Zanora , Iriartea exorrhiza. 

Palm lily, The tall (see Cordyline indivisa). 

Palma real (W. Ind.). See Oreodoxa regia. 

Palmea (Hex.) Collective name for the Yucca group. 

Palmet (see Prionium). 

Palmetto. 

The saw , Serenoa serrulaia :•; the cabbage . Sabal palmetto ; the African, 

or Crin veg6tal, Chamaerops humilis ; royal, Sabal umbraeulifera : silver 

top — , Thrinax argentea. 

Palmite (Air.). See Prionium. 

Palmyra bass fiber, and Palmyra palm (see Borassus fldbellifer). 

Palo de Balso (Peru). See Ockroma. 

Palungoo (Tarn.). Hibiscus cannabinus. 

Pameta. Florida vernacular for Palmetto. 

Pampas grass (see Gynerium). 

Pandanus utilis, et sp. div. 

The genus Pandanus, or screw pines, embraces some 30 species or more, which 
abound on the islands of the Indian Archipelago, the Mascarene Islands, India, China, 
etc., and are distributed to other countries. In the economic literature of American 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 257 

fiber plants I find no reference to the uses of these plants for fiber, though M. Ber- 
nardin gives P. spiralis as a Jamaican species. Screw pines, however, are common in 
conservatories. 

Structural Fiber. — P. utilis, known in Mauritius as the Vacona, or Bacona, is 
cultivated for the sake of its leaves, which are made into sacks for coffee, sugar, 
and grain. The leaves are "not cut till the third year, and are regularly cropped 
every second year afterwards. A plant will yield leaves enough for two large bags. 
The leaves are prepared as soon as taken from the tree; the operation consisting 
merely in splitting the leaves into fillets, which are three-fourths to 1 inch broad at 
the base, but taper to a point. They are 3 to 4 feet in length. "One of them will 
support the weight of a bag of sugar, or 140 pounds, without breaking.'' A plant 
yields material for two sacks. In the South Sea Islands "the leaves are also made 
into matting, baskets, hats, and thatch, and are used for cordage and other purposes. 
The root fibers are much stronger than those from the leaves, and are occasionally 
used for making cordage, and for admixture with jute in gunny bags." (Spon.) 

P. odoratissimus : This sx^ecies is found in India, the Straits Settlements, China, 
Australia, and the South Sea Islands, known as the Caldera bush. Some of its 
native names are Cadhi, Arab.; Kadi, Pers. ; Kenda, Bomb.; Pandang, Malay; Key a 
and Kethi-keyd, Beng. ; Waeta Tceyiva, Ceyl., etc. Regarding the fiber, Dr. Watt 
states that the leaves are composed of tough longitudinal, white, glossy fibers which 
are employed for covering huts, making mattings, cordage, and in South India the 
larger kinds of hunting nets, and the drag ropes of fishing nets. The roots also 
are fibrous and are used by basket makers for binding. When cut into lengths 
and beaten out they are very commonly used as brushes for painting and white- 
washing. "It is possible that this root fiber might be found suitable for brush 
making as a substitute for bristles, a form of fiber which is now in great demand." 
Both roots and leaves may be used as paper stock. (See fig. 2, PL IX.) 

The Kew Mus. contains specimens from several species of Pandanus found in 
Eastern countries and the isles of the Pacific. P. caricosus, Fiji, is represented by 
baskets, fans, mats, etc., made from the leaves. The fibrous portions of the drupes 
of P. leram, an India species, are combed out into a kind of brush which is used 
for removing dust from the feet. P. amaryllifolius, Java, supplies, in its leaves, 
material for sleeping mats ; in Ceylon chair mats are made from P. humilis, and the 
leaves of P. houlletii, Siam, are made into other forms of mats. Other species fur- 
nish material for scrubbing brushes in Burmah, and a native dress is shown from 
Polynesia made from the leaves of an unnamed species. The most notable species 
are named above 

Pangane hemp. See Sansevieria JcirTcii. 

Pangara (Ind.). See JErythrina indica. 

Pani grass, or Panni (Panj.) (see Andropogon squarrostis). 

Panicled acacia (see Acacia leucophkm). 

Panicum myurus. Camelote. 

Endogen. Graminece. A grass. 

The genus Panicum, which includes many of the fodder grasses and millets, num- 
bers over 800 species, some of which are well known in the United States. Some of 
them are coarse forms. Their common names are legion. They are not fibrous in the 
sense of yielding a textile, but many of the species have been employed by natives 
in the manufacture of objects of domestic economy. 

Panicum myurus is found in Venezuela, known as Gamelote, or, more properly, Came- 

lote, growing in extraordinary abundance on all the plains of the country. The fiber 

is considered a useful grass for paper stock. In the Venezuelan Exhibition of 1883, 

according to Dr. Ernst, specimens of the grass and pulp made from it were exhibited, 

12247— No. 9 17 



258 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



and it was proposed to utilize the product of the vast Camelote fields in paper man- 
ufacture. While the paper made from this grass is not of fine quality, it is strong 
and suitable for wrapping paper. 

A grass fiber exhibited in the Mexican Court, W. C. E., 1893, under the name Zacata 
de Manati, is referred by Dr. Ramirez to P. crus-galli (fig. 88). " Zacate is aname given 
to various species of Pa nicum; manati doubtless refers to its growing on the river banks 

where the manatee can feed upon 
it." (Ernst.) The species is a 
( ommon weed in this country. 

The flowering panicles of Pani- 
<.im <((<irii'i nan (now Thysanolama 
agrostis) are made into brooms, 
which are much used throughout 
portions of India for sweeping 
houses. P. maximum, Guinea 
grass, is an American introduced 
species, the fruiting spikes of 
which are used for brooms in the 
Seychelles, etc. See also Paspalum. 

Paper. 

The value of a paper material 
depends largely, next to supply, 
upon the percentage of pure cellu- 
lose it contains. Esparto grass is 
one of the best substances for paper 
because of the high percentage of 
fine fibrous or cellular tissue which 
can be obtained from it. Five 
groups of paper materials are 
recognized in this work: 1. The 
spinning fibers — («) in the form of 
waste from textile industries, or 
as second qualities; (&) the same 
in the form of rags. 2. The soft 
basts. 3. Palm-leaf fiber, etc. 
4. The grasses. 5. Woody fiber, or 
the natural wood of trees reduced 
to cellulose. SeeLinunijGdssypium, 
Corcliorus, Edgeworthia, Broussonetia, Serenga , Stipa, Banibusa, Zea, and the Graminea 
generally, Pinus, Picea, Abies, PopuUs, and other genera in this work. See, par- 
ticularly, Picea mariana, under which statements are made regarding the wood pulp 
industry. 

Paper, Ancient (see Cyperus papyrus). 
Paper birch (see Bet via). 

Paper mulberry (see Broussonetia papyrifera . 
Papinjay (see Luffa cegyptiaca). 

Papyrus, of tlie ancients (see Cyperus papyrus; of Sicily. G. 

syria ens). 

Paritanewha. Few Zealand flax of the high regions. See Phormium. 
Paritium elatum see Hibiscus rial us . 







-Barnyard grass, Panicum crus-galli. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 259 

Parkinsonia aculeata. Jerusalem Thorn. 

Exogen. LeguminosoB. Spiny shrub. 
Tliis species is found in the West India Islands; introduced into all tropical coun- 
tries, and in the hotter regions of India employed as a hedge plant. Its fiber is 
white, but short and brittle. Might be grown as a paper plant. 

Parrotia jacquemontiana. 

A shrub of the Hamamelidaccw, found in northwest Himalayan district of India, the 
strong fibrous twigs of which are "used in the Panjab> for binding loads, making 
baskets, and very largely for constructing the rope or twig bridges of the Himalayan 
rivers." (Dr. Watt.) 
Parsid (Bomb.). See Hardwickia binata, 

Paspalum spp. 

A genus of grasses which includes a considerable number of species of well-known 
pasture grasses, such as knot grass, Louisiana grass, purple paspalum, etc. Like 
the species of Panicum previously enumerated, some of the species are employed in 
industrial economy by natives in the countries where they grow. Notable examples 
are the wire grass of Jamaica, Paspalum filiforme, which has been made into hal- 
ters, and P. virgatum, which supplies a rough material for ropes in Antigua. 

Pat (Ind.). See Gorchorus. The word in Singhalese also means leaf. 

Pata (CeyL). Equivalent to fibrous bark. 

Pati-kori (Beng.). See Saccharum fuscum. 

Patsan and Pitwa (N.W. Prov. Ind.). See Hibiscus cannabinus. 

Patta-appele (CeyL). Urena lobata. 

Paullinia grandiflora. 

Belongs to the Sapindaceoe. The representatives of the genus are nearly all climb- 
ing shrubs confined to tropical America. The above species is known in Peru as the 
Tumi, and, according to Dorca, its bark is used for bands, tie material, etc. The seeds 
of some of the species yield an active principal identical with theine of tea, and this 
is employed in a beverage as a nervous stimulant. 

Paukpan (Burm.). See JEscliynomene. 

Pavonia spinifex. Escobadura of Argentina. 

This genus of Malvacece is chiefly confined to tropical America, though a few spe- 
cies are found in Asia. They are small shrubs. Fiber of this species was shown in the 
Argentine Court, W. C. E., 1893. The species is very common in the northern half 
of Argentina . P. odoraia and P. zeylanica are Indian species ( West Prov., Burm. and 
Ceyl.) and " yield fiber of excellent quality. 7 ' "It is, if anything, of a finer texture, 
softer, and whiter than Hibiscus, and stands a good chance of coming into commercial 
use as a substitute for Hibiscus, and even jute." (Dr. Watt.) 

Paxiuba (Braz.). Socratea exorrliiza. See Iriartea. 

Paxiuba-miri (Braz.). Iriartella setigera. See Iriartea. 

Pemm (Yuc). Maya name for Geiba pentandra. 

Pendang (Malay). See Pandanus. 

Pendha (Ind.) = Rice straw. 

Penghwai jambi (Java). Gibotium barometz. 



260 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Pennisetum alopecuros. 

A coarse perennial grass of central India, with strong, tough leaves, from which 
ropes are made on Mount Ahu. 

Perezia wrightii. 
Syn. /'. arizonica. 

Exogen. Compositoe. Perennial herh 1 to 3 feet. 
Southwestern Texas to southern Arizona. 

Sukiai i: Fiber. — At the junction of the hranches with the roots, and covering 
the greater part of the former, is a soft, silky substance, which is used hy the Apache 
Indians in gunshot and other wounds to stop hemorrhages, for which it is well 
adapted. {Dr. E. Palmer.^ 

Periploca aphylla. 

An asclepiadaceous shruh of India, Persia, Arahia, and Xnhia. The fiher resists 
water, and for this reason "is employed in Sind, with that of Leptadenia spar turn, for 
making into ropes and hands used for wells.*' {l)r. Stocks.) Savorgnan also mentions 
P. laevigata, the jieluria, or down, from the fruit of which is utilized as quilts for heds. 

Peteria (Braz.). See Furcrcea gigantea. 

Phalsa and Phalsi (Iud.), Pharsa and Phulsa (Hind.). See Grewia. 

Philodendron sp. Guembipi of Argentina. 

A genus of air plants found in tropical America, described as having scramhling 
stems which attach themselves to trunks of trees. "An epiphyt with long aerial 
roots. Fiher is prepared from the leaves, and the hark of the roots is used for ropes 
that are indestructible in water." (Xiederlein.) Examples were shown, Argentina 
exhibit, W. C. E., 1893. 

Philodendron imk, known as the Imbe in Brazil, is also enumerated in the list of 
useful fibers in the State of Para. 

Phoenix dactylifera. The Date Palm. 

This palm, the cultivation of which goes back into the ages, is found in all tropical 
eastern countries, and has been distributed to other lands. It has been introduced 
into cultivation in Florida, in the United States, though wholly for its fruit. Its 
native names are legion, but as it is more regarded for its fruit than its fiber, and 
many of its names refer to the fruit, it is not important to enumerate them. 

Structural Fiber. — According to Royle, the natives of Arabia and the north of 
Africa have long used the leaves for mats, baskets, etc., and the foot stalks of the 
leaves for cordage. In the Die. Ec. Prod. Ind. the following account is given 
regarding the uses of the plant as fiber by the natives of that country. 

In the Panjab, mats, fans, baskets, and ropes are made from the leaves, which are 
known as hhutrd, patlra, and khushab. The petioles (chhari) make excellent light 
walking sticks, and, when split up, furnish material for making crates and baskets. 
The fibrous network which forms the sheathing base of the petioles, called kabdl, 
khajiir la holla, or khajur man), is used for making pack saddles for oxen, and the liber 
separated from it for cordage. The bunch of fruit stalks, buhdrd } is said to make a 
good broom, and is employed for that purpose in the Panjab. See chapter on " Uses 
of libers," Introduction. 

The huts of the poorer classes are entirely constructed of its leaves : fche fiber (ft/) 
surrounding the bases of their stalks is used for making ropes and coarse cloth, the 
stalks themselves for crates, baskets, brooms, walking sticks, etc., and the wood for 
building substantial houses. (See fig. 89.) 

Other species. — P. acaulis is the dwarf date palm. Rope is made from its broad 
leaves, and it also supplies thatch material for native huts. Tim leaves of P. farin- 
ifera are made into coarse sleeping mats in India, while the split petioles are fash- 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



2H1 



ioned into baskets. In China the fiber is used for brushes. The leaves of P. paludosa 
supplies material for rough ropes in the' Sundarbans, which are used for securing 
boats, logs, etc., and its leaves are also employed for thatching. P. sylvestris, the 
wild date, is an India and Ceylon species. In Bengal its leaves are used for baskets, 
mats, and bags, and in Bombay for brooms, brushes, and fans. The fiber is also 
adapted for paper making. 

phormium tenax. New Zealand Flax. 

Endogen. Liliacece. A liliaceous plant growing in bunches. 

Native names. — Nearly sixty native names are enumerated by Dr. Hector. 
Among these may be mentioned: Aliraukawa or Haiiraukawa, used for finest 
mats; Harakelce, name of all but the WharariM form; JSuhiroa, long fiber, mats, 
fishing lines, etc.; UuruhuruJcika, for rough garments; Korako, for best gar- 
ments; Ngutunui, for best garments, quick grower; One, narrow leaf, fine fiber, 
next to Tapoto; Pare- 

lib 



taniwha, strong fiber 

for fishing lines, 

nets, etc. ; llataroa, 

from East Cape, and 

the strongest of all. 

Taihore, light green 

leaf, with wide black 

edge ; Tapoto, leaves 

narrow, deep purple 

margin; Tarariki , 

tineandsoft; Tihore, 

plant of any varie- 
ty, in Waikato best 

var. cultivated. 

WharariM, weak fi- 
ber; etc. The fiber 

is known as Mwka. 

Harakeke is the com- 
mon variety of the 

lowlands; Paritane- 

wlia, the yellow var. 

of the high regions 

or hills, and Taihore 

the best quality. 
Native of New Zealand, 
and found on Norfolk Is- 
land and in other portions 
of Australia. Distributed 
to the Azores, St. Helena, 
Algiers, South France, and 

introduced in 1798 into the south of Ireland. Thrives on the Pacific Coast (California) 
where it is cultivated as a tie plant. In its native countries it is never found far from 
the sea. Captain Cook first brought this fiber to the notice of Europeans, he having 
found it in common use by the natives of New Zealand, as he speaks of "a grass 
plant like flags, the nature of flax or hemp, but -superior in quality to either, of 
which the natives make clothing, lines, etc." It also flourishes on the west coast of 
Scotland, though the winters have occasionally been too severe for it. The leaves 
of the plant in Ireland grow to 5, 6, 7, and 8 feet high, and it is propagated by offsets 
which are not removed until the parent is 4 years old. Fig. 2, PL VII, is a green- 
house plant of New Zealand flax. 

S'lKUCTUKAX, Fiber. — New Zealand flax fiber is almost white in color, flexible, soft, 




Fig. 89.- 



-The date palm 



Phoenix dactyli.; 



262 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

and of a silky luster. The bundles of fibers form filaments of unequal size, which are 
easily separated by friction. It has considerable elasticity, but readily cuts with 
the nail. Microscopically examined, according to Ydtillart, the fibers are remarka- 
ble for their slight adherence. The individual fibers seem very regular, having a 
uniform thickness, and the surface is smooth; they are stiff, straight, and very fine, 
and the central cavity is very apparent. 

The Department of Agriculture was able to secure from the New Zealand exhibit, 
Phil. Int. Exh., 187(3, a collection of over 100 specimens of this fiber and its manufac- 
ture, the series well illustrating the many uses of this valuable textile, the methods 
of preparation, and the native manner of dyeing it. The machine-prepared series 
was very full, and the samples of manufacture included nearly everything that can 
be made of fiber. In cordage there were 3-inch cables and ropes of all sizes, horse 
halters, small cordage, lead lines, fish lines (for sea fishing), and twine of the finest 
finish. The series of mattings illustrated the many ways that the fiber may be used 
in the household, as door mats, parlor and bedroom mats (in colors), and hearth 
rugs, while the finer kinds of fiber were made into cloth not unlike linen duck, into 
satchels, table mats, shoes (a kind of sandal), sacks, etc. Floor matting, carriage 
and railway mats were exhibited in variety, plain and in colors. The nets, of which 
there were many samples, could hardly be told from linen, both in color and finish. 
It is hardly necessary to state that these were not of native manufacture, as much of 
the fiber was exported, made up into the various articles enumerated. This was 
due to the fact that the English ropemakers did not pay for flax liber a price 
proportionate to that given for manila hemp, and it was, therefore, found more 
profitable to manufacture at home and export the rope rather than the baled fiber. 
Some of the specimens were, to the touch, as soft as the finest flax, and such fiber is 
doubtless well adapted to fine fabrics. Varying quantities of the fiber have been 
imported into the United States for the manufacture of cordage and binding twine, 
though at the present time the imports are small. There was a sudden increase in 
the quantity, however, about 1892, and it was subsequently learned that the liber 
was largely used in the construction of the "staff/' or outer covering of the principal 
"World's Fair buildings at Chicago. It was used to toughen and hold together the 
plaster and other materials, which, when combined, formed this building material. 

As to tenacity, Royle gives the breaking point of New Zealand flax, compared 
with flax and hemp, as 23.7 to 11.75 and 16.75, respectively. In the Official Hand- 
book of New Zealand it is stated that "during a late severe gale at Auckland it was 
found that flax rope, when subjected to the same strain as manila hemp (Musa icx- 
tilis), remained unbroken, while the other gave way." Experiments by Professor 
Hntton with leaf strips one-eighth inch in breadth from middle part of young full- 
grown leaves showed the following breakage strain for four varieties: Tiltore, 48 
pounds: Hardkeke, 42 pounds; Paretaniwha, 42 pounds; Wharariki, 34 pounds. lie 
concluded that Tihore is the most valuable variety for all purposes; but the kinds 
that should be cultivated would depend upon the nature of the soil, for swamp llax 
of excellent quality could be grown in places where the superior Tihore could hardly 
live. But all the varieties of P. colensoi (now P. cookianum) should be carefully 
avoided, or, if manufactured into fiber, should not be sent into the market under 
the same name as liber from P. tenor, or the latter will fall in the estimation of the 
public, from the inferior strength of the former. 

PRODUCTION. — On the best lands an acre may contain 2,000 bum lies of the plant, 
or 100,000 leaves. These leaves, after cutting olf the gummy and useless butts and 
drying in the sun, weigh about five to the pound, bo that an acre may give nearly 
10 tons of sun-dried leaves. When the outer leaves only are taken the quantity will 
be reduced to 4 tons. Assuming a yield of 15 per cent of clean fiber upon these 1 
tons, the return should be 12 hundredweight an acre to which may be added about 
8 hundredweight of tow. The weight of green leaf required to produce 1 ton of fiber 
is stated by different authorities as follows: ."» . tons, 6 tons, 6 tons, 6| tons, 7 tons, 
7 to 8 tons. To obtain 2,000 bunches to the acre, however, the planting must be very 
close. (Spon.) 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 263 

New Zealand Flax in California. — The plant has been grown in California 
for several years, and thrives in many localities. I have endeavored to learn the 
history of its introduction, hut am unable to make positive statements at this writ- 
ing. Professor Hilgard, the director of the State agricultural experiment station at 
Berkeley, has grown it at the station for some time, sending plants to substations 
and to farmers to be grown for leaves that are used instead of rope for tying vines. 
I fc informs me that the area on which it can be successfully grown is very large, as 
it seems to require much less water than is currently supposed. A tall variety is 
common as an ornamental plant in the gardens about the bay ; the one he has been 
growing and distributing for years is of lower habit, but its fiber seems to be 
stronger and finer. Once started, it will do without irrigation almost anywhere in 
the Coast Range where frosts are not too heavy. In the Great Valley it seems to be 
limited to over 8 to 10 inches of rainfall, unless irrigated, but with irrigation it will 
grow fairly anywhere within the valley, and up to 2,000 feet in the Sierra foothills. 

Small lots of leaves received by the Department from California were cleaned by 
W. T. Forbes, and a strong, valuable fiber was obtained from them. An effort was 
also made to secure leaves in sufficient quantity to obtain enough fiber for practical 
test, but as the leaves do not stand transportation, and would necessarily be several 
weeks on the way, the attempt was abandoned. 

About 1890 the Department received (through the State Department) a quantity 
of seed sufficient for experimental purposes, which was distributed in Florida and 
other Southern States. The seed must have been injured, however, as it failed to 
germinate, even in the conservatories of the Department. In future experiments 
plants should be distributed instead of seeds, as the supply can easily be secured 
from the Pacific Coast, and it is claimed that seedlings do not inherit the character- 
istics of the plants from which the seed is derived. Besides, the early growth of 
plants from seeds is very slow. As New Zealand flax culture is possible in the 
United States, a full account of the practice in New Zealand is given. 

Cultivation. — Phormium tenax will grow in almost any soil, but the more suita- 
ble the soil the finer the quality. It grows best on light, rich soil, by the sides of 
rivers and brooks, where sheltered from the wind. A rich, dry, but not deep, clay 
soil having yellow clay subsoil, with plenty of light and air, is very suitable, but 
the greatest crops are reared on deep volcanic soil. A well-drained swamp gives 
large returns, this fact having been verified by observation in the Upper Waikato 
and elsewhere. 

Stagnant marshes are prejudicial to the growth of flax, but as soon as they are 
drained and the water sweetened the same flax will grow rapidly. The drains 
should he open, and the water therein should flow about 12 inches below the surface. 
If practicable, swamp land should be plowed as soon as it is dry enough for the 
purpose, and allowed to remain all summer, or till March, when it should be again 
plowed, and planted immediately thereafter. The soil will be well pulverized by 
that time. Should the land become very dry in summer, the drains might be stopped, 
so as to irrigate the soil; any land that is periodically inundated is very suitable for 
promoting rapid growth. Alluvial soil should also be plowed in winter or spring, 
and allowed to dry until autumn, when it should again be plowed and planted — 
that is, in March or April, or as soon as the autumn rains arrive; in fact, the earlier 
the better, for the plants make roots all winter, and are ready to come away with a 
vigorous growth in spring. 

The plants should be sown in rows, and in the same way as trees are planted; but 
opinions differ as to the distance from row to row, and from plant to plant in a row. 
It seems to he overlooked that planted Phormium will not be allowed to grow into 
large bushes, as it does in the uncultivated, state. On the contrary, the constant 
cutting which Tvill be carried on will confine it within a comparatively limited 
space. The roots thrown out by the first plants will undoubtedly spread around it, 
but still it will always be practicable to keep the bunches within small areas. 
With this view, the rows might be only 4 feet apart, and only 3 feet between plants 



264 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

in the row. At all events, the quantity of soil that would he saved in this way 
would justify the experiment on a small scale. In this case the roots should he 
planted across the lines in rows. Six feet is generally recommended to be between 
rows and between plants, because closer planting might impoverish the soil; but it 
should be kept in view that llax needs shelter, and the proximity of the plants to 
each other would atford this, and assist in drawing up the leaves and making liner 
liber. If suitable land is chosen, it is thought that impoverishment of soil will not 
result from the close planting. 

With the view of still further economizing space, it has been suggested that about 
10 or 12 rows should be planted, then a break of 10 or 12 feat should be left for drays 
to pass along and collect the leaves when cut. Then other 10 or 12 rows should be 
planted, then another break, and so ou. The extent of the ground to be planted must, 
however, regulate this. About one thousand roots, planted 6 feet apart each way, 
will cover an acre of land; but if the land is planted 4 by 3 feet, as recommended 
above, about one-third more will be required for an acre. In one plant of Phormium 
there will be from 20 to 50 roots for transplanting. Opinions differ also as to the 
number of roots that should be planted together; one, two, and three are variously 
recommended. If two or three are planted together, a large space of ground would 
he required to be left around. Care should be taken to avoid planting the roots from 
which a seed stem has been thrown out, or planting the center portion of an old 
plant, which is not so productive as young shoots, having a tendency to run to 
flower, when it requires more nourishment than all the leaves do. The flower stalk 
should therefore be cut down as early as possible; and when this is done the cut 
part should be rubbed over with a little earth to prevent " bleeding," or, better still, 
twisted off. But if the close planting be adopted, only one root should be planted 
at one place. (Dr. Hector.) 

Preparation of the Fiber. — The maturity of the leaf is ascertained by its texture 
and firmness, or by its being split at the point, or by the recurving of the blades from 
the central midribs. The leaf of the best Phormium should be over 5 feet iu length, 
excluding the butt. The top of the leaf should feel soft to the touch, and droop a 
little ; this occurs in winter. 

The habit of the plant is to form large tufts, its sword-shaped leaves growing in 
opposite rows and clasping each other at the "base. 

One variety forms leaves 5 and 6 feet long, while another is not more than half the 
length. Mr. Salesbury, of the botanic garden, Chelsea, found that plants three 
years old will produce on an average 36 leaves, besides a number of offsets. Six 
leaves have produced 1 ounce of dry, available fiber after having been scutched and 
cleaned, at which rate an acre of land cropped with these plants, growing 3 feet 
apart, would yield more than 600 pounds of dressed fiber. The leaves being cut in 
the autumn, others spring up anew the following summer. It is said that the plant 
may be shorn of its leaves in the morning and before the sun has set they will be 
ready for weaving into cloth. 

The principal operation is scraping and then separating the fibers with the thumb 
nail, after which combs are employed for a more minute separation. The fibers are 
subsequently dried in the sun, and are perfectly white — some short aud strong, 
others fine and silky. According to the reports published by the New Zealand com- 
missioner at the exhibition of 1876, the Maoris (or natives) only use a portion of 
the fiber upon one side of the leaf, the leaves being selected with great care. They 
scrape the leaf with a mussel shell, or piece of hoop iron, on the thigh, after which 
it is soaked in water and then dried. Their finest samples are obtained from partic- 
ular varieties of the plant, only the youngest and best leaves being used, and careful 
attention being paid to the manipulation. "This native-dressed liber, however, 
constitutes but a small portion of the fiber actually prepared on the island, as large 
^manufactories have been erected, where the fiber is stripped by machinery. " Two 
modes of dressing the fiber are practiced, known as the "cold" and the "warm" 
water dressing. The leaves of the llax are fed to a machine called a stripper at the 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



265 



rate of 100 to 120 feet per minute. The drums of these stripping machines are 
driven at the rate of 1,000 to 2,000 revolutions per minute, their diameter being from 
14 to 20 inches. After passing through the strippers, the partially cleaned fiber is 
hand washed in bundles of about 20 leaves; these bundles are suspended in water 
and are allowed to soak for about two hours, the fiber is then spread out on the 
bleaching ground for a time, which varies according to the weather, and then hung 
on lines to dry. It is then either scutched or hackled, or both, packed in bales, and 
pressed for shipment. When the stripper is in good order, and the fiber has been 
fairly cleaned, the loss in scutching amounts to from 3 to 5 hundredweight per ton, 
and in hackling from 2 to 3 hundredweight. In the warm-water dressing the same 
operations are gone through with, with the exception that the fiber is washed and 
placed to soak from six to twenty-four hours 
in tanks filled with warm water, which is 
kept heated by means of either fire or a 
steam pipe. 

In a report to the State Department by 
United States Consul Connolly the follow- 
ing note occurs: 

"To imperfect machinery and careless- 
ness in the selection of green plants may be 
ascribed the apparent coarseness and the 
inferiority so often complained of in the 
flax exported from certain portions of New 
Zealand. But with improved flax-dressing 
machinery and proper care exercised in the 
selection of the raw material, a very superior 
article can be produced. The fiber of Phor- 
mium tenax is susceptible of a much higher 
degree of preparation than has been be- 
stowed upon it up to the present. This, 
however, is not altogether the fault of those 
who are engaged in its manufacture; it is 
for want of the necessary machinery. The 
hand-dressed article prepared by the natives 
is as fine as silk as compared with the mod- 
ern machine-dressed flax of to-day. This 
only demonstrates the fact that the fiber 
may be reduced to a much finer quality, and 
all that is necessary to uo this is an improved 
machine. If New Zealanders can not pro- 
duce the requisite machinery, I trust the 
inventive genius of America will come to 
the rescue. There is certainly a splendid 
opportunity and a fortune for any man who 

will invent a machine that will successfully and economically reduce New Zealand, 
flax to a proper degree of fineness." 

For further accounts see following authorities: Phormium tenax, a Fibrous Plant, 
edited by Sir James Hector, New Zealand, 1889 ; The Leaf Fibers of the United States, 
Report No. 5, Fib Inv Series, U. S. Dept. Ag., 1893; U. S. Consular Report, May, 
1890; Spon's Enc, Div.III. 

* Specimens.— U S. Nat. Mus. ; Mus. U. S. Dept Ag. ; Field Col. Mus. 

Phragmites communis. Common Beed or Eeed- grass. 

One of the largest of our native grasses, growing to the height of 12 feet, the 
rather stout culms bearing numerous broad, spreading, and sharply pointed leaves 
1 to 2 feet long. It has deeply penetrating and extensively creeping rootstocks, 




Fig. 90.— Reed-grass, Phragmites communis. 



2f)6 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

making it one of the most valuable grasses for binding the banks of rivers subject 
to periodical floods. It is occasionally found along the coast in brackish marshes 
and sometimes upon sandy soils, and possibly may be employed with advantage for 
binding drifting sands or those liable to be shifted by high tides. The young shoots 
are liked by cattle and the mature stems make the best of thatch. It is very widely 
distributed throughout the temperate regions of both hemispheres, growing along 
river banks, borders of lakes etc. (/*'. Lamson-Scribncr.) 

The revised name of this species is Phragmites phragmites. 

Fiber.— In Mexico, where the plant grows 20 to 25 feet high (near to water),, the 
stems are used for various purposes by the natives, according to statements made by 
Dr. E. Palmer, who says that they cut it to certain lengths and having split it, beat 
it flat and then weave it in and out, making a large square mat, with which they 
form the ends of their houses. They place it over the rafters before the tule thatch 
is put on. It is also used to cover verandas, and as screens for doors. (See fig 90). 

The species is very common in Europe, where it is sometimes utilized in industrial 
economy. It has been employed in Italy for the manufacture of grass whisks. 

* Specimens are shown in the U S. Nat. Mus. 

Phrynium dichotoma. Synonym of Clynogyne, see under Maranta. 

Phul shola (Beng\). See JEscliynomene. 

Phulahi (Ind.). Acacia modesta. 

Phytelephas macrocarpa. The Ivory Plant. 

A curious South American plant allied to the palms, which produces the vegetable 
ivory nut of commerce. It is known in Peru as the Pulipuntu, and its leaves are 
sometimes employed in the manufacture of articles of domestic economy, besides as 
a thatch material for native huts. 

Piassaba and Piassava ; also written Piacaba. 

of Para (see Leopoldinia piassaba) ; of Bahia (see Attalea fun if era). 

(See also Dictyosperma fibrosum, Borassus flabellifer, Eaphia vinifera, etc., which are 
piassaba-like fibers. Both piassaba and piassava are used in the economic literature 
of the bass fibers. I prefer, however, the spelling of the specific name of the Para 
form— pi assa ba. 

Picea canadensis. White Spruce. 

Exogen. Conifers. A tree, 50 to 150 feet. 

Common names. — White spruce, single spruce, skunk spruce, cat spruce, etc. 

This tree is found in low and rather wet soils, or borders of x>onds and swamps, 
and is most common along the northern boundary of the United States; also New- 
foundland, British Columbia, and Alaska. A valuable timber tree. 

Woody Fiber. — "The tough and flexible root was formerly made into rope and 
twine by the Indians, and used to stitch together their birch-bark canoes." ( Dr. J". 
Havard.) 

The Indians and woodmen in New Brunswick make use of spruce roots to tie up 
small packages, moose calls, etc., and the Micmacs of Nova Scotia also make use 
of the root for the same purpose. The root is used most commonly just as it comes 
from the ground, and is then quite pliable and very tough; less often — and then 
only when it is desired to make a somewhat long string — the root is pounded under 
water between two stones, care being taken to bruise and mash the wood cclN with- 
out breaking the bark. In this condition it is possible to knot and tie the roots with 
nearly the same ease as thai of a fiber proper, and the roots retain considerable of 
their original toughness. (Dr. Wirt Ta&rtn.) 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



2G7 



Picea mariana. 

Syn. Picea nigra. 

Common names. — Black spruce, double spruce, blue spruce, yew pine, and many 
otbers; Epinette jaitve, Quebec. 

Ranges from Newfoundland and Labrador to Hudson Bay, northwest to north of 
Mackenzie River, eastern slope of Rocky Mountains, south through northern States 
to Pennsylvania, central Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and along the Alleghany 
Mountains to high peaks of North Carolina. 

A soft wood, used for timber, fences, posts, and other purposes; largely employed 
as a material for wood pulp in paper manufacture. 

Woody Fiber. — The product of forest trees, known as wood pulp, is included in 
the second group of the classification of fiber substances. About 50 per cent of the 
substance of wood consists of cellulose, the percentage of cellulose in a paper product 
fixing the economic value of the plant as a source of paper material. A larger per- 
centage of cellulose occurs in soft woods than in hard woods, and hence the soft 
woods are the more useful for the manufacture of Avood pulp. The following table 
from " Cellulose," by Cross and Bevan, will serve to illustrate this point: 



Wood. 



Birch 

Beech 

Box 

Ebony 

Oak 

Alder 

Lignum vitsb 

Lime 

Chestnut 

Fir 

Mahogany... 

Poplar 

Pine 

Teak 

Willow 



Water. 



12.48 
12.57 
12.90 
9.40 
13.12 
10.70 
10.88 
10.10 
12.03 
12.87 
12.39 
12.10 
13. 87 
11.05 
11.66 



Cellulose, 



55. 52 
45.47 
48.14 
29. 99 
39.47 
54.62 
32.22 
53.09 
52.64 
53.27 
49.07 
62.77 
56.99 
43.12 
55.72 



Aq. ex- 
tract. 



2.65 
2.41 
2.63 
9.99 
12.20 
2.48 
6.06 
3.56 
5.41 
4.05 
9.91 
2.88 
1.26 
3.93 
2.65 



Pesin. 



1.14 
0.41 
0.63 
2.54 
0.91 
0.87 
15.63 
3.93 
1.10 
1.63 
1.02 
1.37 
0.97 
3.74 
1.23 



Noncellu- 
lose. 



28.21 
39.14 
35.70 
48.08 
34.30 
31. 33 
35.21 
29.33 
28.82 
28.18 
27.61 
20.88 
26.91 
38.16 
28.74 



Cellulose is the preponderating constituent of all vegetable tissues. In addition 
to the cellulose there are present in the wood nitrogenous substances, resins, gums, 
and (mineral) ash, which are to be removed, more or less, in order to produce the 
fiber or pulp. To do this economically and in such a manner that the fiber may 
remain long, pure, and white, and the mass preserve its "felting" qualities as much 
as possible, is the aim of the various processes. 

Economic considerations. — While many species of trees are used in the manu- 
facture of wood pulp, the larger amount is prepared from spruce, a frequent practice 
being to add some poplar or aspen pulp to whiten the spruce pulp. Among other 
woods that are employed are cottonwood, bass wood, birch, buckeye, gum, balsam 
fir, hemlock, jack pine, cedar, etc., while in the South, pine, cypress, and other woods 
are used. 

The kinds of wood employed in this industry depend upon three things: (1) The 
resulting product as to quality and yield; (2) the cheapness and convenience of the 
necessary plant and chemicals; (3) the application to various woods. 

Coming to the practical matter of the preparation of wood pulp, or wood fiber, Dr. 
Samuel P. Sadtler states that two varieties of pulp for paper making may be obtained 
from wood, viz, mechanically and chemically prepared pulp. Of these, the mechan- 
ical wood pulp obtained by shredding the wood serves for the inferior grades of 
paper only, as its fibers are too short and do not "felt" or interlace sufficiently. It 
can, therefore, be used only as a filling material. Moreover, the resin present resists 
strongly the action of bleaching agents, and the paper becomes yellowish after a 
time. On the other hand, what is termed chemical wood pulp has met with great 



268 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

favor as a very pure and easily obtainable form of cellulose. Two main processes 
for its production are now in use, the caustic soda process and the bisulphite 
process. In the former, the wood chopped up and crushed is boiled under pressure 
with caustic soda. This is either done in cylindrical boilers at pressures varying 

from 4 atmospheres (60 pounds;, as first used by Watt and Burgess, To 1 1 atmospheres 
(210 pounds . as used by Sinclair, or by lingerer's graduated method ina series of 
nine connected vessels, using low pressure and partly saturated lyes upon the fresb 
wood and increasing the pressure and using fresher lyes upon the partly converted 
wood. Somewhat more than 50 per cent of the soda used is recovered again from 
the washings. The alkali process is, however, being gradually displaced by the 
bisulphite process. As first proposed by Mitscherlich, acid calcium sulphite was 
used. The temperature is brought gradually to 118 c C. which is not exceeded, the 
pressure being from 2 to 3 atmospheres. In Ekman's process, acid magnesium sulphite 
is used, and a pressure of from 5J to 6 atmospheres is attained. Still another process 
is that of Franke, which uses bisulphite of lime again. Cross and Bevan explain 
the efficacy of the bisulphite processes by saying: 

"The chief agency is the hydrolytic action of sulphurous acid, aided by the con- 
ditions of high temperature and pressure; and the subsidiary agencies are : (1) The 
prevention of oxidation: (2) the removal from the sphere of action of the soluble 
products of resolution in combination with the sulphite as a double compound, for 
it is to the class of aldehytes that we have shown that the noncellulosic constituents 
of wood belong, and (3) the removal of a portion of the constituents in combination 
with the base. i. e.. with expulsion of sulphurous acid." 

The several bisulphite processes, as compared with the ones mentioned previously, 
yield a larger amount of pure fiber. They preserve its original strength, which is 
not done when caustic soda acts upon the loosened fiber under pressure, and there is 
a greater economy of chemicals. 

In Dr. Fernow's account of the wood-pulp industry the following classes are rec- 
ognized: (1) The mechanical or ground pulp is produced by grinding the wood after 
proper preparation on rapidly rotating stones under constant rlow of water (Yoelter 
process). (2) Brown wood pulp, mainly a mechanical pulp, except that the wood is 
steamed before grinding, under a pressure of 2 to 6 atmospheres. (3 ) Chemical wood 
pulp, or cellulose proper f in this country called " chemical fiber "'). is produced by treat- 
ing finely divided wood or wood shavings with various chemicals, which dissolve or 
render soluble the incrusting substances, leaving the fiber as long, elastic, and pure 
as the raw material will furnish it. while the above mechanical processes naturally 
shorten and deteriorate the fiber mechanically. The chemical processes can be again 
classified into alkaline and acid processes, according to the kind of chemicals used. 

By the alkaline processes are obtained soda pulp and sulphate pulp. The acid proc- 
esses are more numerous. Electro pulp is derived from a more recent process, in 
which the wood is digested in a solution of common salt, at 250° to 260 : constantly 
electrolyzed. For detailed accounts of these processes, see Report of the Division 
of Forestry. Annual Report of the United States Department of Agriculture for 189 ': 
Cellulose, by Cross and Bevan: and Sadtler's Handbook of Industrial and Organic 
Chemistry. The wood-pulp industry in 1890 represented 183 mills, located in 22 
States, and with a total daily capacity as follows: Mechanical or ground pulp. 
407,000 pounds: chemical soda fiber, 149,000 pounds: chemical sulphite fib r. ll a 
pounds. The average yield per cord is 1,700 pounds for ground pulp, 1,000 for sul- 
phite, and 800 for soda pulp. By the different processes the value of a cord of wood 
may be brought to $24.50 to $30. 

"In 1888 the stumpage consumed for pulp was valued at $2,235,000. The product. 
225,000tons ground and L12,500tons chemical pulp, was valued together at $12,375,000, 
the capital employed being estimated at $20,000,000. The consumption, in round 
numbers, wae indicated in 1890 to amount to 1,000,000 cords of wood per annum. 
When it is considered that about 1,000,000,000 pounds of book and news paper are 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 269 

consumed annually in this country, two-thirds of which might he made of wood 
fiber, there is still a considerable margin for this use alone to be supplied by wood 
pulp." (B. E. Fernow.) 

Picea sitchensis. Tideland Spruce. 

Common names. — Tideland spruce, Sitka spruce, Menzies spruce, etc. 
Alaska, south to Mendocino County, Cal., not extending more than 50 miles inland 
from the coast. "A large tree of great economic value, largely manufactured into 
lumber used for construction, interior finish, boat building, dunnage of vessels, 
cooperage, wooden ware, etc." (C. S. Sargent). J. G. Cooper states that the long, 
tough, fibrous roots are used by the Alaska Indians to make very strong baskets and 
bags. "P. engelmanni, the white spruce, or Arizona spruce, a Rocky Mountain and 
Pacific States species, has similar fibrous roots, which are used as basket material." 
(Dr. V. Havard.) 

Pigna cloth (Phil. Is.). Same as pina. Ananas sativa. 
Pilea scripta. 

Exogen. Urticacece. Large-leaved herb. 
An Indian plant, growing in the temperate Himalayas, 3,500 to 6,000 elevation. 
Referred to by Royle as a fibrous plant. P. smilacifolia is also mentioned by Dr. 
Watt, though no definite information is to be obtained regarding its fibers. 

P'i-ma (China). See Ricinus. 
Pimelea axiflora. 

Exogen. Thymelceacece. Slender, branching shrub. 

Habitat, Australia. The genus Pimelea comprises some 70 species, natives of Aus- 
tralia, New Zealand, Tasmania, etc. "The curryijong of tbe aborigines is a tall, 
glabrous shrub, with smooth bark, of exceeding toughness. It is found plentifully 
in the forests and gullies in alpine and subalpine situations." (Dr. Guilfoyle.) 

Bast Fiber. — A specimen was secured at the Phil. Int. Exh., 1876, prepared by 
Dr. Guilfoyle, who states that all the species of the genus have more or less tough, 
stringy bark, suitable for textile purposes. It is made into fishing lines, whipcord, 
etc., and is adapted to paper making. The seeds of P. axiflora yield an oil from 
which the genus — derived from the Greek pimele, a fat — received its name. P. cla- 
vata is a shrub, 8 or 9 feet, native to western Australia, which also produces fiber. 

Pina (Phil. Is.). Pineapple, and pineapple cloth. See Ananas sativa. 

Pindayba, or Pindahyba (Braz.). Xylopia sericea. 

Pine, Wood of (see Plnus). 

Pineapple (see Ananas sativa). 

Pine fiber and Pine wool (see Finns palustris and sylvestris). 

Pinguin (W. Ind.). See Bromelia pinguin. 

Pinuella (W. Ind.). See Karatas plumieri. 

Pinus palustris. Long-leaf Pine. 

Exogen. Coniferw. A large tree, 80 feet. 

In the United States, from Norfolk, Va., southward to Texas, and as far north in 
the middle section as Tennessee. The turpentine pine of the Southern States. 

Structural Fiber. — One of the most interesting series in the fiber collection of 
the Department is that of the pine-fiber specimens furnished by the Acme Manu- 
facturing Company, of Wilmington, N. C. The raw material is the leaves or needles 



270 USEFUL FIBEE PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

of the long-leaved pine, which also produces the turpentine of commerce. The par- 
ticular process is said to ho the invention of A. F. Scott. The exhibit includes a 
branch of pine, the gathered needles, and samples illustrating processes of cooking, 
rubbing, and carding. These are followed by the various products obtained, as 
pine hair, surgical dressing lint, pine oil, burlap, matting, and finally bagging. 
When the jute trust put up the price of bagging for baling the cotton crop, about 
1890, as high as 1,000,000 yards of pine-fiber cotton bagging was produced, and the 
industry gave promise of being extended. Very little, if any, of this bagging is 
manufactured, however, at the present time. 

A physician of Wilmington has stated that the liber made of pine straw is a most 
valuable agent in the treatment of simple and compound fracture, surgical dressing 
after operations, and suppuration of wounds. It is superior to cotton-batting, lint, or 
oakum. Its aromatic odor drives away flies and prevents maggots from burrowing 
in wounds, and I think it is a disinfectant of the first order. 

Preparation. — The green pine straw or leaves, gathered in the surrounding for- 
ests, is brought to the mills, where the company purchases it at 15 cents per hundred 
pounds. After having been weighed, the straw is carried into a shed 100 by 25 feet, 
and is spread upon the floor to be cleaned and to prevent it from becoming heated. 
An elevator takes it to the second floor of the building, where it is placed in two 
iron cylinders set up on end and surrounded by steam pipes. These extractors are 
10 feet deep and about 4 feet in width. In these the pine leaves are thoroughly 
steamed, the vapor going through pipes into the ordinary distillery worm in an 
adjoining house. Here it is condensed. The result is the pine-leaf oil, the leaves 
yielding about one-half a gallon of oil to 100 pounds of straw. The oil is a valuable 
product, and is destined to take an important place in the advanced pharmacopeia. 
It is very highly antiseptic, possesses the advantage of being useful for internal as 
well as external application, and is valuable for many surgical and medicinal pur- 
poses. The liquid which is condensed from the vapor with the oils is useful for various 
purposes in the manufacture of other fabrics. 

After the oil has been extracted, the pine straw, which has become a very rich 
black in color, is placed in six large iron vats, 7 feet wide, 8 feet long, and 5 feet 
deep, and with a capacity of holding 3,000 to 4,000 pounds each. It is here mixed 
with water and alkali and thoroughly boiled, the process being necessary to remove 
the silica which forms the outside covering of the leaf. This is a difficult operation, 
requiring great skill and care. The silica which is removed is used for tanning and 
other purposes. During all this process of cooking the pine still retains its aroma. 
The last boiling process continues for twelve hours, after which the straw is soaked 
forty-eight hours more, and then it is ready for the machinery for rubbing up the 
leaves. 

The straw taken from the vats, and still damp, is first put into a "rubber," as it 
is called, and which consists of a number of cylindrical screws working together 
with both rotary and lateral motions. The machine is quite complicated, and further 
description need not be given in this condensed account. Suffice it to say that the 
straw being fed into it comes out of the other side a pure fiber of a rich dark-brown 
color and of a soft texture. During all these processes it is kept saturated with 
water, but it is next takeu to the wringing and bleaching machine, where the water 
is squeezed out and the curing process is begun. It is then carried to the carding 
machine, through which it passes, and thence to the drying machine, where every 
particle of moisture is evaporated, and thence to the press, where it is put up in 
bales ready for market. The fiber is packed in burlap bales, 225 pounds to a bale. 

Firms sylvestris, Scotch Tine, is the European species, which is used in the same 
manner in Silesia, Thiiringer Wald, Sweden, Holland, etc. This textile material is 
employed in underclothing as a substitute for flannel, and accredited with valuable 
medicinal properties. The leaf needles are first distilled with water, for the extrac- 
tion of the oil contained in them. The waters are used in medicinal baths. The 
remaining material is treated with boiling soda solution, for the removal of the vege- 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 271 

table matters. The resulting fiber, equal to about 13£ per cent of tbe fresh needles, 
is spun into yarn and tben woven. The material is largely used in Vienna and Bres- 
lau for hospital and military blankets. The fiber is also employed as a substitute 
for horsehair in stuffing. 

Pinus sabiniana. Digger Pine. 

Common names. — Bull pine, digger pine, Sabine's pine, gray leaf pine, etc. 
California, Shasta County, aloug the foothills of the Coast Range and the western 
slope of the Sierra Nevada, below 4,000 feet elevation. The wood is light, soft, and 
strong, brittle, compact, but not durable. The edible nuts supply the Indians with 
food, and "the big fibrous roots are used by them for weaving into many domestic 
articles." A tree, 75 to 100 feet. 

Pinus strobus. White Pine. 

The common white pine needs no description. Sargent says of it : "More largely 
manufactured into lumber, shingles, laths, etc., than any other North American tree." 

Woody Fiber. — The species is only introduced in this catalogue on account of its 
being one of the woods commonly used for the packing material known as "excelsior/' 
which is to that extent a fiber substitute, used also for upholstery and for filling 
cheap mattresses. Other woods used for this purpose are poplar and spruce. 

There are a dozen different kinds of machines in use for reducing lumber to the 
sort of fine shavings which form excelsior. After cutting the lumber to right 
lengths and properly seasoning it, it is run through the machine, which practically 
cuts it first into thin ribbons and then into threads of fiber by means of closely set 
parallel cutters. Second-growth timber and clean body wood is usually employed 
in the manufacture. 

Pipturus argenteus. 

Exogen. Urticacew. Tall shrub or tree, 50 to 60 feet. 
A North American plant, also found in Australia and the islands of the Pacific. In 
Queensland it is known as the Queensland grass-cloth plant, or native mulberry, and 
is called in the vernacular Kongangu. Met with on the banks of rivers and smaller 
streams. Dr. Christy states that it affords a fiber of fine texture and great strength, 
but difficult of preparation. The bark also yields a brown dye. P. asper is a Cuban 
species. P. gaudickaudianns is a Sandwich Island species, cited by Hillebrand as 
P. albida, "the Mamake of the n tives of Hawaii; one of the two principal Kapa 
plants, not known from elsewhere.'' 

Pissang utan (Malay). See Musa textilis. 
Pita. 

The term "pita" has been given to the fiber of several distinct species of fleshy 
leaved plants, and is, on this account, confusing as a name to distinguish any partic- 
ular kind of fiber. It is used oftentimes as a prefix, pita de corojo being an example, 
meaning corojo "fiber," or corojo "hemp," from Acrocomia lasiospatlia. It has also been 
given as a distinctive name to the fiber of Agave americana > Fur crcea gigantea, Karatas 
plwmieri, and Bromelia sylvestris. I think the name should either be abandoned alto- 
gether or used exclusively to designate the fiber of Agave americana, to which it has 
been mo^t commonly applied. In addition to the above might be mentioned several 
compound names such as pita floja, from Fnrcrcea gigantea, etc. 

Pite (Fr.). Agave americana. 

Plagianthus betulinus. Ribbon Tree of New Zealand. 

This species belongs to a small genus of Sterculiacea?, confined to South Australia, 
Tasmania, and New Zealand, and when full grown is a tree 70 to 80 feet high, though 
often seen as a straggling bush. It is sometimes called the lace bark tree. 



272 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Bast Fiber. — Its bark is of a beautiful lace-like texture, tearing into shreds with 
greatest ease, l>ut flexible and strong. According to the Treasury of Botany, the tree 
is called Akaroa by the Xew Zealanders, who extract a fibrous material from the 
young branches, known as New Zealand cotton, which is not only fine, but exceed- 
ingly strong, though resembling flax or hemp rather than cotton. The fiber of the 
ribbon tree is utilized in the manufacture of fishing lines and nets, and to some 
extent of cordage and paper. 

Plagianthus pulchellm, the Victorian hemp bush, is an allied species. It is a quick 
grower and reaches a height of 6 to 12 feet, resembling a birch in appearance. It 
is invariably found growing on the banks of rivers and creeks, and is said to be plen- 
tiful on the Yarra River, near to Melbourne. It is surprising that as a fiber plant of 
great value this should be so long overlooked. It is fully equal to the Queensland 
hemp (Sida retusa), which has already become an article of commercial importance 
in that colony. The Plagianthus possesses the advantage of being much longer in 
staple. The fiber is very soft and glossy, and should form a good warp yarn, either 
by itself or as admixture with some other material. This and the preceding species 
were secured with the Australasian collection at the Phil. Int. Exb., 1876, prepared 
by Dr. Guilfoyle. 

Plagianthus sidoides. 

Native ol* Australia. Another plant of this region to which has been given the 
name currijong. It grows to a height of 10 to 12 feet, and according to Spoil is found 
on the Strzelecki Range, on the Gippsland gold fields, and on the Dandenong Range, 
and occurs in Tasmania. 

The fiber is prized by the miners for cordage purposes, and might be applied to 
the manufacture of hats, textiles, and paper. The bark is readily removed from the 
trunk and branches. 

Plantain (see Musa spp.). 
Platanillo (Tenez.). Asclepias curassavica. 
Platano (Venez.). See Musa sa/pienium. 
Poa abyssinica. Teff. 

This is another extensive genus of grasses which includes many cultivated Ameri- 
can species of fodder grasses. 

P. abyssinica is particularly interesting, as it was cultivated by the ancient Egyp- 
tians, and was used by them for '-'straw"' in brickmaking. It has been found in 
ancient clay bricks. At the present time it is largely cultivated in Abyssinia as a 
cereal. 

P. cwspifosa, Wire grass or Australian Meadow grass, is a native grass of Victoria, 
from which the natives make mats. "Our Victorian Wire grass, which grows to a 
height of 1 feet, might, with proper appliances, even rival the celebrated Esparto of 
south Europe" (Guilfoyle). P. cynosuroides is found in northern Africa and southern 
Asia. In northwest India it is said to be used for cordage and for mats. Would 
prove a serviceable paper Stock. 

Poa pratensis. Blue Grass. 

Common names. — Kentucky blue grass; blue grass (in Kentucky and Tennes 
green grass; June grass (in New England); smooth meadow grass : common 
spear grass; spear grass; English grass : smooth -stalked meadow glass i tig. ill). 
This is apparently native throughout the temperate regions of the Northern Hemi- 
sphere. It ranges from Labrador to South Carolina, westward to the Pacific ( oast, 
and northward to Alaska. In the limes ?ions of Kentucky and Tennessee it 

attains irs greatest perfection, and is there regarded as the king of pasture grasses. 
It requires a good soil containing some lime in order to yield profitable crops. It is 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



273 



largely employed in the Eastern and Middle States as a. lawn grass, for which use it 
is well adapted. There are several varieties, which differ chiefly in the breadth and 
length of the leaves, particularly those at the base of the stem. It is not so well 
adapted for the production of hay as it is for pasturage. (F. Lamson-Scribner.) 

Structural Fiber.— Useful for fine straw plait. In 1822 a silver medal and 20 
guineas were awarded to Miss So- 
phia Woodhouse, of Connecticut, 
for a new material for straw plait, 
this species having been employed. 
It was then supposed to be equal 
to the Italian straw for the finer 
kinds of braids. 

Poah (Nepal). See Boehmeria. 

Pochote (Mex.). See Ceiba 
pentandra and Eriodendron 
anfractuosum. 

P6i(Ind.). SeeMaouiiapuya. 

Polechi (Malay). Hibiscus 
sabdariffa. 

Pollinia (It.). Chrysopogon 
gryllus. 

Po-lo-ma (China). 

nas sativa. 



See Ana- 




Polyalthia longifolia. In- 
dian Fir. 

Exogen. Anonacece. 

A tree of the hotter parts of In- 
dia; " commonly planted on ave- 
nues along roads in Bengal and 
south India." v 

Fiber.— Said to produce a good i- ia. 91.— Kentucky blue grass, Poapratensis. 

bast fiber, samples of which were 

sent to the Amsterdam Exhibition. P. coffeoides, found in the forests of Wynaad 
and Ceylon, yields a cordage fiber in the western Ghats, according to Dr. Watt. 

Polygonatum multiflorum. Solomon's Seal. 

A moderate genus of Liliacece, distributed over the temperate parts of the northern 
hemisphere. The familiar species are graceful woodland herbs. A curious example 
of the utility of the above species as a textile is a parasol cover from Ireland pre- 
served in the Kew Mus. 

Polyporus betulinus. The Eazor-strop Fungus. 

Found upon both living and dead birch trees. Pileus from 3 to 6 inches broad, 
smooth, corky, elastic, hoof-shaped, at first pale, then becomes brownish gray; mar- 
gin incurved; pileus covered with a thin epidermis, which easily peels off; pores 
white or tinged with brown. The whole plant when dry is very light; the lower 
surface is frequently rough, with numerous needle-like projections, making it resem- 
ble a Hydnum when viewed horizontally. 

Pseudo-fiber. — While the substance prepared from this fungus more nearly 
resembles leather than a textile fabric, it is similar in structure to Fomes fomentarius, 
12247— No. 9 18 



274 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

and is therefore included. " The preparation of the fungus for razor strops requires 
that it be cut in the autumn, when its substance has become dry and firm, subjected 
to pressure for twenty-four hours, carefully rubbed with pumice stone, slicedlongi- 
tudinally, and pieces entirely free from the erosion of insects glued upon a wooden 
stretcher. Tbe excellence of this material is probably due to the minute crystals it 
contains beiug sufficiently hard to act upon the steel. Cesalpinus mentions this use 
of fungous growths, and the barbers of that period were familiar with it It seems 
strange that so valuable a material should have been overlooked in modern times." 
(B. T. Galloicay.) 

P. squamosus, the Dryad's Saddle, maybe mentioned in the same category. Aferulius 
lacrymans, the dry-rot fungus, the mycelium of which assumes various forms when 
spread out in thick, skin-like sheets, serves also for razor strops. See also Xylostroma 
giganteum and Fomes fomentarius. 

Polytrichum commune. Hair Moss. 

An interesting example of the economic use of this moss is a hammock preserved 
in the Kew Mas. from Yorkshire; also '"'brooms from Sussex and from Berne in 
Switzerland, where they are used by weavers under the name of Weber-Biirste, or 
Win-el-Burste." 

Pooah (Ind.). Maoutia puya. 
Populus deltoides. Cottonwood. 

Syn. P. monilifera. 

Exogen. Salicacecv. A tree, 75 to 150 feet. 

COMMON names. — Cottonwood, cotton tree, Carolina poplar, necklace poplar, etc. 
Shores of Lake Champlain, Vermont, through southwestern New England to west- 
ern Florida; west along northern shores of Lake Ontario to eastern bases of the 
Rocky Mountains of Montana. Colorado, and New Mexico. Wood used largely in 
the manufacture of light packing cases, fence boards, wood pulp, and for fuel. (C. S. 
Sargent.) 

Bast Fiber. — The tree yields an abundance of long, soft, fibrous bark, used by the 
Indians along the Colorado Eiver for ropes, twines, sandals, mats, etc. " Whoever 
has seen the petticoats made of the inner bark of the cotton wood (P. frcmonti). 
worn by the squaws along the Colorado Eiver, must have realized the possibility of 
utilizing the same material as well as that of the allied species.*' (Dr. V. Harard.) 
P. trichocarpa, the black or balsam cottonwood of the Northwest, is much used by 
the northern California Indians for the brown work of the woof of their hats and 
baskets. 

Potari (Beng.). Abutilon indicum. 

Pothos violaceus. 

A genus of Aracece, natives of India, China, Madagascar, New Holland, etc. 
They usually have cord-like stems, and send out false roots, which attach themselves 
to trees. P. violaceus, the wild cocoa, is named in the Flax and Hemp Commission list 
as " a substitute for straw plait." The revised name of this species is Anthurium 

sea Helens. 

Pouk (Burin.!. Butea frondosa. 

Pouzolzia spp. 

The plants of this genus of Urticaoea are allied to the Boekmerias, and arc natives 
of the Tropics of both hemispheres. P. pentandra, P. rhnima, audi', indica yield use- 
ful cordage fibers in India. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 275 

Prairie grass (see Spartina cynosuroides: also Sporoholus crypttndus). 

Prickly pear (see Opuntia). 

Prionium palmita. The Palmet, or Palmite. 

Endogen. Juncacece. 

Habitat. — South Africa, where it grows in the heds of rivers, often choking the 
stream. It reseinhles in appearance a bromeliaceous plant, with its trunk 5 to 10 
feet in length and its tuft of sword-shaped leaves. 

Structural Fiber. — "The leaf sheaths contain a network of strong, "black fiber, 
suitable for brush making, or, when curled, as a substitute for horsehair. The leaves 
themselves are useful for plaiting and thatching, and also yield a very good fiber." 
(A. Smith.) Its leaves are used for making hats, baskets, etc., and the fiber might 
be employed in textile uses, such as for cordage, brushes, and upholstery. 

Prosopis pubescens. Screw Bean. 

Exogen. Leguminoscv. A bushy shrub. 

This species abounds in the southwestern United States and Mexico. Eepresenta- 
tives of the genus are also found on the plains of Buenos Ayres and Patagonia, known 
as EetorguiUo. 

The pods of this species are twisted like a corkscrew. The fruit or bean is employed 
largely for food by the Indians along the Colorado River, in Arizona, and by the Utahs, 
who collect large quantities to store for winter food. (See Ann. Kept. U. S. Dept. Ag., 
1870, p. 412.) 

Bast Fiber. — The bark of this plant, torn off in strips, is used by the Mohave 
Indians of Arizona for binding pottery. Better prepared, it would make a fair cord- 
age fiber, although when produced in the form of ribbons, as in the specimens col- 
lected by Dr. E. Palmer, it can only be regarded as a tie material. 

Pseudo-fibers (see Classification of Fibers, p. 25). 
Pteris decipiens (see note under Adiantum). 
Pterocarpus santalinus. 

Exogen. Leguminoscv. A large tree. 

There are 15 or more species in the genus, and all are plants of large size, scattered 
over tropical Asia, Africa, and America. The plant yields a deep red dye, known to 
commerce as "red sanders," large quantities of which are exported from India 
annually. Gum kino is obtained from two species of Pterocarpus, one growing in 
India and the other in Africa. Some of the barks are also used for tanning. 

Bast Fiber. — The fiber is reddish in color, composed of quite fine filaments of 
moderate strength. From the size and appearance of this specimen, which is quite 
old, I judge it has only been extracted experimentally. A twisted cord of the fiber, 
about the size of common manila-paper twine, would show about the same tenacity. 
It would doubtless make a good paper stock, if it could be cheaply extracted and in 
large quantities. 

Pua hemp (Ind.). Maoutiapuya. 
Pueraria thunbergiana. Ko Hemp. 

Exogen. Leguminosce. A twining plant. 

Habitat. — China and Japan. 

Bast Fiber. — Dr. Morris states that the fiber of this trailing vine, long known in 
Cbina and Japan, is obtained from the succulent green stems, and is used, but less 
tban formerly, for summer clothing. It is said to be more durable than China grass 
cloth. 



276 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Pulipunta (Peru). See Pliytelephas. 

Pulu (Hawaii). See Gibotium spp. See under Woodwardia. 

Punj (lud.). Sterculia guttata. 

Puta and Puttiya (X. W. Prov. Ind.). See Kydia. 

Quahitl (Tuc.j Maya) = a tree. 

Quasb (Arab.). Bambusa arundinacea. 

Queensland hemp. Sida rhombifolia. 

Queimora (Braz.). Gouratari. 

Quimbombo. Spanish for Hibiscus esculent us. 

Raffia. 

The name given to a surface fiber which is produced by stripping the epidermis of 
the leaves of species of palms of the genus Ilaplna. which see. Epidermal strips 
similar to raffia may also be produced from the leaves of many other species of palm 
such as Cocos nucifera, the cocoanut, Borassus, the Palmyra palm, etc.. specimens of 
"which are preserved in economic museums. 

Ragi (Ind.). Eleusine coraeana. 

Ragweed. Ambrosia trifida. 

Rain-coats, Fiber for. Jap., Oryza sativa ; China, Traclnjca rp us excels us. 

Raiz de Zacaton (Mex.). Epicampes macroura. 

Rajmahal hemp (Ind.). See Marsdmia. 

Rameta bast (see Lasiosiplion eriocephalus). 

Rami (Peru). Boehmeria. 

Rami-tsjina (Malay). See Gorchorus. 

Ramie and Ramee. Boehmeria tenacissima. See also B. nirea. 

Ramio (Span.). Sarnie, or species of Boelimcria. 

Ran or Ban-bhendi (Bomb.). Malachra capitata. 

Ran-shewra (Bomb.). Sesbania. 

Raphia ruffia. Baffia Palm. 

Endogen. Palmce. 

There are several species of this genus, natives of Africa, where they abonnd in 
low, swampy lands upon river banks or near the sea upon both the east and west 
coasts. One species, however, is found in similar situations in Brazil. They produce 
gigantic pinnate leaves often 50 feet in length, trees frequently being found 70 feet 
in height. The immense fruit spikes often weigh 200 or 300 pounds, and bear a large 
number of one-seeded fruits larger than eggs. The genus is a prominent one, as it 
contains three species yielding important commercial libers. 

B. ruffia is a Madagascar species, growing abundantly on the coast and inland, 
reaching an altitude of 1.000 feet. The leaves average 25 feet in length and are made 
up of a series of long grass-like pinnate fronds. (See tig. 02. 

The revised name of this species is R. pedunculata. 

SURFACE Eibek. — This liber is derived troni the cuticle of the leaves, which are 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



277 



taken before fully expanded and peeled upon both sides. The thin strips of iibrous 
material thus obtained are afterwards divided into narrower strips by a kind of 
comb, according to the purpose for which they are to be used. 

It appears as flat, straw-colored strips, about half to three-quarters inch wide 
and from 3 to 4 feet long. It is capable of being divided into tine threads. In Mad- 
agascar it is used for delicately plaited goods, hats, mats for covering floors, and 
wrapping up goods. The loose strips are extensively used in this country in place of 
Russian bast or tie bands 
by gardeners and nursery- 
men. More recently it has 
been woven into superior 
matting, tastefully col- 
ored, and used instead of 
tapestry for covering 
walls in London houses. 
Raffia usually reaches this 
country (England) loose- 
ly plaited in hanks weigh- 
ing from 1£ to 3 pounds 
each. These are made up 
into bales weighing !.■§■ to 
5^ hundredweight. The 
preparation of raffia is one 
of the most extensive in- 
dustries in Madagascar. 
The men cut the palm 
leaves in the forests and 
bring them home for the 
women to complete the 
work. The fiber is cured 
the same day it is stripped. 
(Dr. Morris.) 

The Kew Mus. contains 
examples of coarse cloth 
made by the natives of the 
upper Congo. This cloth 
is the universal clothing 
of the Malagasy slaves. 

The fiber is exported to the United States in the hanks described above, its only 
use being as a tie material in nurseries, etc. 

Raphia taedigera. The Jupati Palm. 

Found on the banks of the lower Amazon and Para rivers in Brazil, but unknown 
in the interior. The cylindrical leafstalks, often 12 feet or more in length, are em- 
ployed by the natives for walls or partitions of their houses, and used in other 
ways. 

Fiber. — The fiber is similar in every respect to the preceding and is used for the 
same purposes, some of the strips being exported to England for use as tie mate- 
rial, especially in hop fields. Among its native uses may be mentioned cordage and 
fishing nets. 

This species is now regarded by botanists as identical with the next. 

Raphia vinifera. Bamboo Palm. 

Common and native names. — Wine palm of West Africa. (The Palm) Igi- 
ogura, Eriko, and ATcpako, Yorubaland; (the fiber) Iyo. 
Abundant on the borders of rivers intersecting the countries near the sea, in 




Fig. 92.— The Kaffia palm, Raphia rujjia. 



278 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



the kingdoms of Oware and Benin, west Africa. The tree is of medium height, the 
leaves measuring 6 or 7 feet in length. The stems are used for the framework of 
native dwellings, and the leaves, hound with lines, are used for thatching. From 
the trunk an intoxicating heverage called Bourdon is ohtained. 

The governor of Lagos, in a report to the Kew authorities in 1891, states that it 
would he inipossihle to calculate the area occupied hy these forests, hut it may he 
accepted '-without doubt that they extend throughout the length of the colony, 
and to a distance of at least 15 miles from the seacoast, and that over this area of 
about 5,000 square miles they form a considerable proportion of the vegetation, next 
only in numbers to the oil palm and the mangrove."' (See fig. 93.) 

Structural Fiber. — This is the " African bass" of commerce. It is in appear- 
ance a stiff and wiry liber, varying 
in color from dark brown to light 
red, dependent for its shades on 
duration of soaking. It is most 
readily obtained in lengths of from 
3 to 4 feet, beyond which length it 
is inconvenient to pack and diffi- 
cult to procure without injury to 
t . e tree . In diameter it varies from 
one-sixteenth to one-thirtieth of 
an inch, the latter of which may be 
accepted as the limit of fineness to 
be admitted in a commercial sam 
pie for the European market. 

The liber is obtained from the 
fibrous sheathing at the base of 
the petioles, in lengths of 3 to 4 
feet. It has been a regular article 
of commerce since 1890, though the 
prices are somewhat lower than 
those quoted for Para and Bahia 
piassaba, which are employed for 
the same uses, that is, for hard 
brushes. Epidermal strips are 
also secured from the leaves of this 
species, though shipments of the 
fiber made in 1895 were reported 
upon as badly prepared, the strips 
being too short, and curled up, 
resembling fine twine. 

Everybody in the colony is aware 
of the manifold uses of the Raphia 
palm; how, from its leaves, hats, 
cloth, and cordage are made : from 
its leaf stems, rafters, fences, and walls, and from its crown of young unopened leaves 
palm wine of excellent quality. Of one part only the use seems not generally known, 
and it would appear that this particular portion of the tree, though hitherto treated as 
useless, is in reality of more value than all the rest. When the " Bamboo" cutter 
clears away the leaves from the lower stem of the palms the trees present a very ragged 
and uneven appearance owing to the practice of leaving a portion of the leafstalk 
adhering to the parent stem. These base stalks partially incase the bole of the tree 
and project upward and outward forming the scaly covering which gives so strange 
an appearance to a grove of Raphia palms. From these stumps of the leafstalks the 
native ashing lines are made. The fiber is extracted by a process of soaking and 
scraping, which is exceedingly simple and is fully understood by every bamboo cut- 




FlG. 93.— The Jupati palm, Raphia vinifera. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



279 



ter and line maker. It is this fiber which, is known in the European market as 
"African bass," and there is no apparent reason why, with a population who are in 
the habit of preparing it, and a source of supply which may be regarded as practi- 
cally unlimited, we should not be able to compete on even terms with the sources of 
supply which at present monopolize the market. {Alfred Molony, governor of Lagos.) 
Other species. — B. IwoJceri is the Ukot of Old Calabar, where it is cultivated as a 
wine palm. The natives also manufacture cloth from the epidermis of the leaflets. 
On the Skerboro, in Sierra Leone, they make hammocks from it, as well as all sorts 
of basket work, mats, etc. This is one of the largest of the Bajphias, the whole plant 
often attaining a height of 70 feet. The fronds are 40 feet long, with leaflets 4 to 5 
feet long. If in other respects suitable, this should yield Baffin fiber as long as the 




Fig. 94.— A plant of Bavenala. 

best from Madagascar. (Kew Bull., 1895.) B. welivitscliii is a new species from 
Angola. The natives manufacture the epidermis from the leaflets into cloths, etc. 
B. textilis, a closely allied species, also yields textile filaments. 

Rat (Ceyl.) = red. 

Rataroa. New Zealand flax. See PJiormium. 
Rattan cane (Ceyl.). See Calamus rotang. 
Ravenala guyanensis. 

Endogen. Musacece. Giant wild plantain. (Fig. 94.; 
Known by the French as Traveler's tree, as it stores up water in the large cup-like 



280 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

sheaths of the leafstalks. Found in British Guiana and a second species, E.mada- 
gaseariensis, in Madagascar, the gigantic leaves being used by the natives of both 
countries as a thatch material. ''The blades of the leaves are oblong in form and are 
larger in size than those of any known plant except the Victoria regia." (Dr. Masters.) 

Rawaye (W. Afr.). Cochlospermum tinctorium. 
Razor strop, fibrous. 

In Florida and the West Indies a very serviceable razor strop is made from the 
soft inner part of the flower stalks of "poling" species of Agave. They are about 
15 inches in length and 1J inches square, one end being made round for a handle. 
See also Fames fomentarius. 

* Specimen. — Mus. U. S. Dep. Ag., from Agave sisalana. 

Red mulberry. Morns rubra. 

Red silk cotton. Bombax malabaricum. 

Reed mace. Typlia an gusti folia. 

Reed, Scriptural (see Arundo donax). 

Retama (Peru). Spartium junceum. 

Rhea (Ind.). See Boelimeria tenacissima. 

Rhus trilobata. Aromatic Sumac, or Squaw Berry. 

Exogen. Anacardiacece. A shrub, 5 to 8 feet. 

Native Indian name. — Hopi or Moqui, CUM; from Ciikii, puugent, alluding to 
its acid berries, which are called sivwipsi; a syncopated form of CUbisiadta; 
CUM, its seeds. (Feivkes.) 

Found in the Rocky Mountains, at least as far north as Colorado, in California, 
and southward to Mexico. "The dry shrub is one of the four prescribed fuels for 
the kivas. The buds are regarded as medicinal, and the seeds are eagerly eaten by 
young people. Its twigs are used for many ceremonial purposes, and also for coarse 
basketry.-' (Fetches.) 

In Utah, Arizona, southern California, and New Mexico the Indians depend solely 
upon this plant for material out of which to make their baskets. It is far more 
durable and tougher than the willow, which is not used by these Indians. The mode 
of preparation is as follows: The twigs are soaked in water to soften them, and to 
loosen the bark, which is scraped off by the females. The twigs are theu split by 
the use of the mouth and both hands. Their baskets are built up by a succession 
of small rolls of grass stems over which these twigs are firmly and closely bound. 
A bone awl is used to make the holes under the rims of grass for the split twigs. 
Baskets thus made are very durable, will hold water, and are often used to cook in, 
hot stones being dropped in from time to time until the food is done. (Dr. E. Palmer, 
Am. Nat. 1878.) 

Ribbonwood (of Otago) (Xew Zea.). See Roheria. 

Rice. 

Chinese paper (see Fatsia papyrifera); straw, for straw plait ^see 

Oryza); wild (see Zizania aqnatica). 

Ricinus communis. Castor Oil Plant. 

Common names, — Talma Christi, Huile <i< Castor (the oil) (Ft.); Kiki (Egypt ■> ; 
P'i-ma (China); Endaru (Ceyl.); Kyeksu (Burin.); Khirvd (Arab.); Bedanjir 

(Pers.), and many others. 
Supposed to be a native of Africa, from whence the plant was introduced into 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 281 

India, and has spread to many parts of the world. Cultivated largely for its oil 
derived from the seeds. Grown in the United States as an ornamental plant. 

Woody Fiber.— I can not learn that this plant has ever been used for fiber save 
in India. "While Ricinus communis does not itself yield fiber, it is largely cultivated 
in Assam to feed the eri silkworm. An excellent paper pulp is, however, said to be 
made from the stems with their bark, the latter containing a fiber though not of suf- 
ficient value to justify its separation. As some 500 maunds of stems are obtained 
from an acre of land, it seems probable that where grown in the vicinity of paper 
mills it would be more profitable to dispose of the stems to the paper maker than to 
use them as fuel or thatching as is the present custom." (Die. Ec. Prod. Ind.) 

Robinia pseudacacia. 

Exogen. Leguminosce. A tree. 
An ornamental tree with hard wood, known as the false acacia, or North American 
locust. Native of the Southern United States. Savorgnan mentions that fiber has 
been produced from it, though it can hardly be enumerated as a useful fiber species. 
Bernardin, however, gives the species place in the list of 550 useful fibers, for manu- 
facturing stuffs and paper. 

Rocou (see Bixa orellana). 

Rooee Ru and Rui (Ind.). Gossypium herbaceum. 

Rourea santaloides. The Kirindi-wel of Ceylon. 

A creeper, belonging to the family Connaracece. Allied to the bean family. The 
genus comprises 40 or more species, distributed over tropical Asia, though represent, 
atives are found in Africa and America. They are trees and shrubs, a few of them- 
as B. santaloides, being scandent. 

Woody Fiber. — The twining stems of this species are used in Ceylon for a pow- 
erful cordage, which is produced by twisting them together. These ropes are 
employed in constructing strong fences or stockades; and in agriculture iC where 
fascines have to be erected for the support of temporary earthwork, etc." The 
cordage is also used for tethering cattle. 

* Specimens were exhibited in the Ceylon court, W. C. E., 1893. 

Rozelle hemp. Hibiscus sabdariffa. 
Rusa grass (see Andropogon schoenanthus). 
Rush. 

The different species of rushes are used in the manufacture of mats, mattings, 
rough cordage, and for paper stock. Some of the rushes described in this work will 
be found under Cyperus. See also Juncus. 

Rye straw (see Secale). 

Sabal palmetto. The Cabbage Palmetto of Florida. 

Endogen. Palmce. A tall palm, 25 to 50 feet. 

One of the most northerly palms. Found in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, 
in the latter State often appearing in large groves. The species of Sabal are all 
natives of tropical America, chiefly the West Indies, and the southern United States. 
The trunks of old examples of S. palmetto are smooth, but the young trees are cov- 
ered with a lattice of the dead leafstalks, arranged with geometrical regularity. 
They are used for piles, and are said to be more enduring than the ordinary timber 
species for this purpose. Seminole Indian name, Tah-lali-Tcul-kee. Fig. 1, PI. X, is 
a group of cabbage palmetto at Jupiter Inlet, Florida. 

Structural Fiber. — The manufacture of brush fiber from the cabbage palmetto 



282 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

forms a considerable industry in Florida, this material being produced in the works 
located at Jacksonville. The source of the fiber is the "boots,"' or spathes of the 
leaf stems, which surround the "bud," or cabbage, and in securing these buds, with 
the leaf sterns, the tree is sacrificed. The buds are cut out in the localities to the 
southward, where large groves are to be found, and are shipped to the central fac- 
tory. Here they are steamed, to soften and loosen the mass, when the boots are 
removed and are immediately crushed by passing under a series of stamps similar to 
the device formerly employed in crushing gold ore in Colorado. The softened and 
crushed boots are then subjected to an automatic combing machine, which takes out 
the soft liber, leaving about 25 per cent of the original fibrous material, in the form 
of stiff reddish fibers, considerably finer than piassaba, and averaging 15 to 18 inches 
in length. These fibers are then sorted, or " drafted,' 7 and are made up in bundles 
of different lengths, to be oiled and polished. The ends are then cut square, and the 
fiber, in the form of small bundles, is ready for the brush maker. The different 
lengths are known as "long draft," " short draft," etc. The brushes produced are 
made in many forms and are useful for many purposes. 

The soft or tangled fiber has not been largely utilized, otherwise than to strew over 
the streets of Jacksonville, possibly as a kind of "sand-bind" material. It has been 
used to slight extent as the fibrous portion of artificial board, though not to the 
extent of making it an industry. It might be used as a cheap substitute for coir. 
The selected leaves of the cabbage palmetto are capable of manufacture into hats 
for summer wear, of great beauty and finish. In the bazaars of Florida cities that are 
winter resorts ladies' hats made of this material are regularly sold, and men's hats 
are also made from this species. For hat manufacture the leaves are whitened by 
brushing with a solution of oxalic acid once or twice, after which they are bleached 
by exposing to the fumes of burning sulphur. The leaves are also plaited into orna- 
mental basket work, and are also used, when torn into strips, in the manufacture of 
fly brushes, which are regularly sold in the local bazaars and house-furnishing estab- 
lishments. 

The bud, or "cabbage," of S. palmetto is prized by the Seminole Indians as an article 
of food; after cutting out and trimming the bud it is boiled. S. aclansoni is the 
dwarf palm of Georgia and Florida. The stem is short or entirely under ground. 
Its leaves are used for plaiting into hats. S. olackburnianum is known as the Ber- 
muda palm, and its leaves are manufactured into hats, baskets, fans, and other useful 
articles. S. mexicanum is a Mexican species, which is said to be cultivated. Like the 
preceding species its leaves are utilized, being made into mats and other articles. 
S. umbraculifcrum, the palmetto royal, is a form of S. blackburnianum, which is utilized 
in Jamaica, the outside portions of the trunk being employed for boarding up native 
huts and forming partitions. Savorgnan states that hats and sandals are made from 
this palm, the fiber being very strong and indestructible. See also Serenoa, the saw 
palmetto. 

* Specimens of Sabal palmetto brush fiber in series, and various articles from the 
leaves, are preserved in the Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. ; the U. S. Nat. Mus., and the Field 
Col. Mus. 

Saccharum officinarum. Sugar Cake. 

This species belongs to a genus of grasses of the tribe Andropoyonecr. Over 60 
species have been described, covering a wide geographical range, though for the 
most part natives of tropical and subtropical countries. S. officinarum was probably 
first cultivated in India, although its varieties are uow spread over the world. It 
has been cultivated in tropical America since 1610. 

Stkuctural Fiber. — The fiber from this species is derived from the refuse after 
the cane has passed through the crushing mills. In India it was recommended as a 
useful paper material by Liotard. A further use in manufacture in a small way, 
according to the Die. Ec. Prod. Ind.. Vol. VI, pt. 2, is for well ropes, and on the 
Chenab it is twisted into rough cordage used for tying logs into rafts. The destruc- 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 283 

tion of the fiber is one of the reasons why the natives of many parts of India object 
to the improved iron rollers now very generally employed in the expression of the 
juice. It is noted that the dried material is not used as fuel or manure. 

Eefer also to " Bagasse" in the alphabetical index, where this subject is further 
treated. 

" Specimens of Bagasse, Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Saccharum sara. 

Syn. S. ciliare and S. munja. 

Native names. — Sara-pat, Sarpatia, and Munja (Hind.); Sara (Hind and Beng). 

Northwest Provinces of India, especially the Panjalb, where it is sometimes planted 
as a boundary hedge. 

Structural Fiber.— The Munj, or fiber, from this species is much valued on account 
of its strength, elasticity, and power of resisting moisture, and is extensively employed 
in the manufacture of rope, string, mats, baskets, and paper. Munj matting is said 
to be proof against the attack of white ants. * * * SirJci is the light thatch used 
in covering carts in wet weather, and is composed of the til, or upper portion, of the 
flowering stem; the lower and thicker parts, called Jcdna, are used in the manufac- 
ture of chairs, tables, baskets, and screens; also for roofing, for lining Kachha wells, 
and for covering stores or grain. (George Watt.) 

The Kew Mus. collection contains many interesting objects made from the fibrous 
portions of this and other species of Saccharum. Among these may be mentioned 
ropes and twines, the fiber being valued for such uses on account of its elasticity, 
strength, and power of resisting moisture. Mats are also shown, including a Sirkar 
mat from Calcutta; also a necklace made from the straw, and half stuff for paper, 
made from the culms. 

S. spontaneum is another Indian species that is employed for cordage, while S. fus- 
cum is recorded as a Himalayan species, known in Hindoo as Killut or Tilluk, and 
Pati-Tchori in Bengal. Of this species, George Watt states that the culms are used in 
the manufacture of pens, screens, and light fences, the leaves and reeds for thatch, 
and the leaf-sheaths, like those of most wild species of the genus, may be used to 
supply the fiber from which the sacrificial thread is prepared. 

Saci, Sacci, or Sacqui=White agave. 

The form of sisal hemp which has its center of production in the northwestern 
portion, or the district of Merida — Agave rigida elongata. This form furnishes the 
principal bulk of the sisal hemp exported from Yucatan. See also Taxci. 

Safed-babul and Safed kikar (Beng. and Hind.). Acacia leucophlcea. 
Safed-semal (Hind.). Eriodendron anfractuosum. 
Sago palm. Metro xylon sagu. 

Sago is also derived from Caryota urens, Phoenix farinifera, Corypha gebanga, and 
other palms that are valued for their fiber. 

Sagu (Peru). Areca catechu. 
Sala (It.). See Gar ex paludosa. 
Sala minore (It.). Typha angustifolia. 
Salacia diandra. 

A genus of Hippocrateacew, containing some 60 or more tropical species, for the most 
part abounding in India and the Asiatic islands, though found in other parts of the 
world. They are erect or trailing evergreen shrubs, and are sometimes cultivated in 
greenhouses. S. diandra is an East Indian species said to have been employed for 
the native manufacture of ropes and cordage of great strength. 



284 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Salcio. 

This word, used with affixes, forms the common Italian names of different species 

of osiers, or willows, used in the industrial economy. da vinchi is the osier, 

or water willow ; vitrice, the brittle willow ; viminali, the pliant willow ; 

legare, the binding willow, and many others. See Salix. 

Salix spp. 

Exogens. Salicacew. Willow trees. 

The willow family is so well known that a description of the trees is unnecessary. 
There are many species, distributed over the northern hemisphere, and they are 
more numerous in the Old World than the New. 

Bast Fiber. — While the largest use of the willow is in the manufacture of 
basketry, etc., some of the western Indians make use of willow bark, specimens 
of which are exhibited in the U. S. Nat. Mas. Dr. Palmer states in the American 
Naturalist for October, 1878, that the willow trees along the Colorado River, Arizona, 
yield abundance of long, soft bast, from which the Indians on this stream make 
ropes and twine for domestic purposes, as well as sandals and mats. The females 
generally dress scantily, only that part of the body from the waste to the knees is 
hidden from view. This custom is observed by most of the Indian females living 
along the Colorado River. They strip off the bark from these trees and bury it in 
blue mud for a few days, after which it is taken out, washed clean, and dried. It is 
now soft, pliable, and easily handled. Being cut into requisite lengths, they are 
fastened very thickly to a belt of the wearer. 

Woody Fiber. — Several species of Salix, more commonly known as osiers, are 
employed in the manufacture of willow ware, which includes baskets, furniture, 
perambulators, and a variety of-other useful articles. While this manufacture is 
more largely carried on in European countries, the'twigs of a few of our own species, 
are so employed in this country, such as Salix purpurea, the rose, or whipcord wil- 
low, which is mentioned in Gray's Manual, sixth edition, as " growing in low grounds, 
and cultivated for basket rods." Other species are doubtless employed occasionally, 
or in small local industries. 

There is hardly a tribe of Indians in North America that is not familiar with the 
rude plaiting or weaving of withes, reeds, grasses, etc., into articles of domestic 
economy, and several species of willow are employed by them for wickerwork, such 
as S. cor data, S. sericea, S. petiolaris in the Eastern and Middle States, the last two of 
real value; S. lasiandra, S. lasiolepis and S. laevigata in the Western and Pacific 
States. Of the last named only the roots are used by the Hoopa and Klamath 
Indians. 

In the study of the subject, one first thinks of oziers or willows as the ordinary 
and proper material, but it is well known that our willows do not possess the soft- 
ness and pliability which make several species of so much economic importance in 
Europe. Even when cultivated in this country these species become woody and 
hard. From all the information within my reach, I am led to believe that the native 
willow most used in this country, at least west of the Rocky Mountains, is Salix 
sessilifolia. From the region of the Hoopa and Klamath Indians of northern Cali- 
fornia and southern Oregon to that of the Papagos of southern Arizona, this plant 
furnishes one of the best materials for the warp of basket work. Young shoots, 2 or 
3 feet long, are cut in the spring or early summer, stripped of their bark, and dried . 
They are soft and remarkably flexible, sometimes quite tenuous, almost filiform. 
This species deserves attention as one most worthy of cultivation for the production 
of valuable ozier. In order to keep it well pruned down and provoke new growths 
of young, tender shoots, the Indians of northern California set tire to the woods, an 
operation likewise intended to improve the hazelnut, another highly esteemed basket 
plant." (Dr. V. Havard.) 

The woody liber of S. lasiandra is largely used with other materials by the Pai Utea 
and Shoshones at Ash Meadows, Nevada,, in the construction of pack baskets, water 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 285 

and pot baskets, and a kind of flat-bottomed "bowl, a few inches deep and sometimes 
18 inches across. The Panamint Indians of California also make loosely woven bird 
cages of these withes. Frederick V. Coville gives the following interesting account 
of this manufacture in a paper on the Panamint Indians of California in the American 
Anthropologist, October, 1892. which will serve to illustrate the methods employed 
by North American Indians in the manufacture of "willow ware** or baskets, etc., 
from withes of Salix and other species : 

All these wickerwork utensils are woven by the squaws at the cost of a great deal 
of time, care, and skill. The materials are very simple. They consist of the year- 
old shoots of some species of tough willow, commonly Salix lasiandra: the year-old 
shoots of the aromatic sumac. Rhus trilobate; the long, black, slender, flexible horns 
on the mature pods of the unicorn plant, Martynia louisiana. locally known as devil 
horns, and the long, red roots of the tree yucca. Yucca breri folia. These materials 
give three types of color — the white of the willow and sumac, the black of the devil 
horns, and the red of the yucca roots. This last material, although it has a strong 
fiber and a pretty red color, is rarely used, for it is too thick to plat closely and the 
resulting fabric is full of interstices. Sumac and willow are prepared for use in the 
same way. The bark is removed from the fresh shoots by luting it loose at the end 
and tearing it off. The woody portion is scraped to remove bud protuberances and 
other inequalities of the surface, and is then allowed to dry. These slender pieces 
of wood, that they may be distinguished from the other elements of basket materials, 
will be called withes. The second element is prepared from the same plants. A 
squaw selects a fresh shoot, breaks off the too slender upper portion, and bites one 
end so that it starts to split into three nearly equal parts. Holding one of these 
parts in her teeth and one in either hand, she pulls them apart, guiding the split 
with her ringers so dexterously that the whole shoot is divided into three equal even 
portions. Taking one of these, by a similar process she splits off the pith and the 
adjacent less flexible tissue from the inner face, and the bark from the outer, leaving 
a pliant, strong, flat strip of young willow or sumac wood. This is here designated 
iv strand. Both withes and strands may be dried and kept for months and probably 
even for several years, but before being used they are always soaked in water. The 
pack baskets and some, at least, of the water baskets are made of these strands and 
withes. They begin at the bottom with two layers of withes superimposed and 
fastened by their middles at right angles. The free ends are bent upward, and in 
and out between them the strands are woven, new withes being inserted as the basket 
widens. An attempt at ornamentation is frequently made by retaining the bark on 
some of the strands or by staining them, and by slightly varying the "weave." A 
squaw commonly occupies an entire month constructing one such basket. The plan 
of the pot baskets and plates is very different from that of the pack baskets. The 
materials are all carefully selected and prepared. They consist of willow or sumac 
strands like those described above, but narrower and of the finest quality, similar 
black strands from the devil horns, and the long-jointed, slender stems of a native 
grass, Epicampes rig ens. The strands of devil horns are exceedingly tough, of a coal- 
black, very persistent color, and attain a length of from 4 to 10 inches. The grass 
is particularly adapted to this use from its firm texture and the fact that the portion 
above the uppermost joint, which alone is used, is very long, often 18 inches. Start- 
ing from a central point a bundle of two or three grass stems and one very slender 
withe is sewed by a willow strand to the part already finished. The process is very 
similar to the crocheting of a circular-lamp mat. At the proper point the bundle is 
drawn more tightly, so that the remainder of the spiral forms the sides of the basket. 
The wall has the thickness, therefore, of one of these bundles, and is composed of a 
continuous spiral of them. The willow withe furnishes a strong hold for the stitches, 
and the punctures are made by an iron awl. When such an instrument can not be 
obtained an admirable equivalent is substituted in the form of a stout, horny-cactus 
spine from the devil's pincushion, Echinacactus polycephalus, set in a head of hard 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

pitch. The gr when the ..re drawn tightly, make a perfect pack- 

ing, and the basket when finished is water-tight. Curious patterns in black are 
woven into the basket by the occasional substitution of strands of devil horns for 
those of willow. 

r wickerwork are cultivated in Europe and in Eastern countries, and the 
manufactures from them are often large industries. Among the European bac 
willows. 8. iriandra is doubtless the be - for purposes of manufactui 

a - being light, flexible, and white. This is the Vehriot de txsU of Italy, com- 
monly used for hampers, children's carr: a rpurea is said to be cultivated 
in France. Germany, and England for ornamental basket work and fine manufac- 
tures. S.fragiUs is a coarse-: .lso employed for baskets and the like-. 
alba Tthe binding willow. Salcio da legare of the Italians), is the species emp] 
in making the celebrated charivari cha - commonly 
referred to as the osier, is --'more distinguished for the quantity than the quality of 
: is also known as the water willow. (Dianthera americona is also 
called water willow. | 
Among the species of Salix used for wickerwork, etc.. in Eastern countries are 8. 
j hylla for landing : 8. alba, or common white willow, used in Kashmir for b - 
work: 8. babylomiea for baskets, wattles, weirs, fence- - ietra^erma. basket 
work: and S. tcaUlchimta baskets, the smaller twigs being used for toothbrushes. 

Salt marsh grass. SparUnajuncea. 

Samahuma fBraz.). Eriodendron samauma. 

Sambal 'Java . See JEschynomt 

Samoa Hopi . Yueea baccata. 

Samohii Arg.'i. Chorisia speciosa. 

San. Sana. Sani Hind. . C rotatoria jun> 

San kokra and Sankokla (Ind.i. Hibiscus cannabinm. 

Sanabu Ind. . Crotalaria jv. 

Sansevieria. The Bowstring Hemps. 

An important genus of L with representatives in tropical regions of 

both hemispheres. They are found on the coast of Guinea, around Ceylon, and 
along the Bay of Bengal, extending to Java and the coasts of China. They are 
stemless, perennial jdants, throwing out runners, and having only root leaves, which 
are thick and fleshy, and usually sword or lance shaped, with sheath : _ 
They flower from January to May, and the plants grow wild in the jungles. They 
are easily propagated on almo -il from the slips which issue in yreat abun- 

dance from the roots, requiring little or no care, and not requiring to be rene 
often, if at all. 

The best known species are 8. g< ?. roxburghiana. 8. zeylanim, S. eylind 

and 8. Tongiflora. the latter species abounding in southern Florida, where beautiful 
examples of its fiber. G+ feet in length, have been extracted. S. kirku is a 
species, found on the eas* si I e fiber of which has been prepared experimentally. 
- 1 gii is another African species known as Somali-land fiber, and 5 • 

v ~<ndrie<a, though not so valuable. 8. lanuginosa, called 
Katu-Kaj+t. is found on the Malabar coast. This plant, upon experiment, according 
to Ei rodnced fiber as fine and soft as human hair, and possessing extra- 

ordi: _'th and tenacity. Very superior examples have been likened to raw 

silk, and the firmnesB of the fiber •• induced the I ave.it woven 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 287 

into cloth, which he declared was as fine a piece of cloth as he had ever seen." 
Sansevieria fiber was formerly considered a valuable paper stock at Trichinopoly, 
where the tow was used, while the fiber served as packing for steam engines. 

Sansevieria cylindrica. Ife Hemp. 

Endogen. LUiacea\ Steinless, lance-leaved plant. 

South Africa from Zanzibar to Angola. Differs from other species of the genus in 
that the leaves are cylindrical, or round in horizontal section; when fully developed 
3 to 4 feet long, and about an inch thick. 

Structural Fiber. — Specimens of fiber prepared from plants growing at Kew 
and submitted to Ide & Christie, London, were estimated to be worth £28 per ton. 
"Except that it does not appear quite as strong, it is almost equal to <S\ longiflora." 
Samples are exhibited in the Kew Mus. from Mauritius and from Sierra Leone. "The 
cordage and rope made of this plant appear to the eye of excellent quality, whatever 
experience may prove them to be." Experiments recently made with this cordage 
have shown it to be the strongest and best fitted for deep-sea sounding* of any fiber 
known: indeed this is the less surprising, seeing that other species of Sansevieria 
(the well-known S. zeylanica and guineensis, for example) are cultivated in almost all 
tropical countries on account of the strength and durability of the fiber, under the 
name of bowstring hemp. 

Sansevieria guineensis. African Bowstring Hemp. 

Native name. — Konji, Zambesi; the fiber, Konje hemp. 

Native of Guinea; found in Central America, Abyssinia, and Mauritius, distrib- 
uted to tropical America, particularly the AVest Indies. Cultivated in greenhouses 
with S. zeylanica and other species. 

This is the best known form of plant producing bowstring hemp, and is one of the 
oldest species. It has hoary, erect lanceolate leaves, 3 to 4 feet long, 3 inches broad 
at the middle, narrowed gradually to an acute apex, not distinctly bordered with 
red, copiously mottled on both sides with broad, irregular bands of white. 

Structural Fiber. — The fiber of this species has been said to resemble nianila 
hemp, and it is applicable for cordage manufacture. Specimens of the fiber from 
Trinidad submitted to Ide & Christie, London, were reported upon as follows: 
"In point of cleanness and softness of fiber it seems well prepared; but to compete 
successfully with manila hemp it would require to be of a better color and of equal 
if not superior strength. TVe value it for rope-making purposes at £20 per ton in 
London. Another example of machine prepared was valued at £23 per ton. In our 
experimental trial carried on at Jamaica, 1,185 pounds of green leaves of S. guineen- 
sis yielded 29 pounds 10 ounces of dry fiber. 

Culture and preparation. — The following statements regarding the growth of 
this and allied species of Sansevieria, in Jamaica, are reproduced from the Kew Bul- 
letin for May, 1887. 

In the first instance plants may be set out at 3 feet by 3 feet, which, allowing for 
roads and paths, would give about 3,000 to the acre. If the soil is kept well broken 
aud moist, the plants by the extension of root suckers will spread iu all directions, 
so that ultimately the whole ground, with the exception of certain paths, which 
should be kept permanently open, will be covered with plants. As regards the time 
which must elapse between planting out and the first yield of leaves suitable for 
fiber there would appear to be a great difference of opinion. Plants which I saw at 
St. Thomas at 3 years old were only just ready to be cut : and Baron Eggers, who 
had planted them and kept them under close observation during the whole of that 
time, was of opinion that Sansevieria could not be depended upon to yield a crop 
before three or three and a half years. 

Refer to the account of S. longiflora, the species common in Florida. 



288 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Sansevieria kirkii. Pangane Hemp. 

This species grows abundantly near Pangane on the mainland opposite the island 
of Zanzibar: discovered by Sir John Kirk. 

Structural Fiber. — The robust habit and large size of the leaf of this plant 
render it valuable for fiber purposes. Under exceptional circumstances a leaf will 
attain a height of 9 feet. The fiber from plants growing at Kew was valued in 1887 
at £27 per ton. It is used by the natives, and yields a long and useful fiber. (Dr. 
Morris.) 

Sansevieria longiflora. Florida Bowstring Hemp. 

Native of equatorial Africa, but distributed to tropical America; occurs in Trini- 
dad and is common in garden cultivation in southern Florida, or in localities or on 
some of the keys, in a semiwild state where introduced plants have been neglected. 
The Florida species was at one time thought to be guineensis, but on receipt of 
plants of both guineensis and longiflora from the royal Botanic Gardens of Trinidad 
the form growing in Florida was properly identified. The leaves are similar to those 
of S. guineensis, but larger, longer, and flatter, not so firm in texture, and not inva- 
riably blotched, the spots being more irregular and the entire plant (in Florida) often 
a lighter green. The flowers are 31 to 4 inches long, while those of S. guineensis are 
2 inches. (See fig. 3, PI. Till.) 

Structural Fiber. — A specimen of fiber from plants grown at the Royal Kew 
Gardens in 1887, and submitted to London fiber brokers, was described as very bright, 
clean, and strong; in every way a most desirable commercial article, and was valued 
at £30 per ton. Fiber extracted by the Department, in 1892, at its experimental fac- 
tory on Biscayne Bay, Florida, from nearly a ton of leaves grown on Boca Chica Key, 
was in every way superior to sisal hemp. Some of it was produced from a hundred 
pounds of selected leaves that averaged &V feet in length, and fiber even 7 feet long 
was secured, while the shortest was 2\ feet. 

Careful estimates based on the quality of Sansevieria fiber produced in these experi- 
ments would fix the yield at about 40 pounds of fiber to the ton of leaves. The 
Sansevieria waste was not weighed, but it is very safe to state that with only reason- 
able wastage (cut fiber and fiber drawn out with the pulp) the yield of fiber per ton 
would come nearer to 50 pounds. Even if this is considerably lower than the yield 
of sisal hemp, the quick growth of the plant, the ease with which it can be harvested, 
and the higher price of the fiber will probably more than make up for the difference 
in the yield of cleaned fiber. 

The material is too good for cordage in the usual acceptance of the term. It is so 
much finer and better than the cordage fibers, so called, that it would doubtless 
find a use in the manufacture of fine twines, and with proper preparation might be 
made into a fair spinning fiber, and possibly be employed on some new form of manu- 
facture. The fiber is fine, white, and lustrous, the leaves yielding readily to treat- 
ment in the machine in the fresh state. 

History in the United States. — During the investigations of the writer, in 
Florida, in the winter of 1890-91, this plant was found growing at several points, 
principally at Key West, on Boca Chica Key, and at Miami on the east coast. Noth- 
ing was accomplished, however, further than to demonstrate that it would thrive 
out of doors, in southern Florida, though a brief mention was given to the plant in 
Bulletin No. 3, on sisal hemp culture (Fib. Inv. series), and a reference made to the 
value of the Florida-grown liber, several samples having been secured. As early 
as the spring of 1890 several letters were received relating to this plant, one of the 
first being from Dr. J. A'. Harris, of Key West, who spoke highly of the value of 
this plant for fiber cultivation. Letters were also received from Mr. George II. Bier, 
of Key West, upon the subject, in one of which the statement was made that the 
plant after introduction into the British "West India Islands, found its way to Cuba as 
an ornamental plant, and in 1866 was brought as an ornamental plant from Cuba 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 289 

to the keys, and that the people, though ignorant of its value as a fiber plant sub- 
sequently became alarmed at its rapid extension, and endeavored to eradicate it. 
A little later Dr. Harris became interested in the growth of the plant with a view- 
to embarking in its cultivation as an industry. Beyond establishing a small planta- 
tion, however, I have been unable to learn that any practical results followed. 

Preparation and cultivation. — In 1892, when the writer visited Key West, he 
was able to secure from Dr. Harris interesting information regarding the best manner 
of multiplying the young plants, which were photographed in different stages of 
growth. In propagating the plant, for convenience the leaves are cut into sections 
about 4 inches long and inserted into boxes of earth to the depth of about 2 inches. 
The soil must be moderately dry, as too much moisture will cause the leaves to rot. 
The boxes must be placed in a moderately shady place, and in a few weeks' time the 
slips will put out numerous fibrous roots, which will soon be followed by suckers. 
The plant can also be readily propagated by sections of its rhizomes or roots, which 
grow without any difficulty. It was stated that the plant requires good, rich soil to 
succeed well, and will under favorable circumstances acquire its full growth in about 
twelve months' time; ordinarily, however, it will not acquire its full growth until 
sometime in the second year. In the reports of experiments with another species, in 
Jamaica (Kew Bull., May, 1887), the time of growth to maturity is placed at three and 
a half years. (See remarks on culture, under S. guineensis.) Dr. Harris, nevertheless, 
states that when once the land is stocked with its growth it will always, when cut, 
give a full growth from the roots inside of twelve months ; so that it is perfectly safe, 
after the second year, to count on a full crop every year, the growth of each year 
becoming denser, and in a few years becoming so thick that it would appear to 
be impossible to cultivate it; which, however, appears to be needless, as when once 
fully established it takes entire possession of the soil, entirely eradicating everything 
else. It does not appear to materially exhaust the soil, as it will grow for a number 
of years in the same place and continue to make vigorous growth. 

As to yield, it was stated that after a plantation is well established it is possible to 
secure a crop of 5 tons of clean fiber per acre. The experiments of Dr. Roxburgh, 
however, do not give such figures of yield, as 1,613 pounds of fiber at a gathering 
was estimated, or, at the rate of two crops a year, a little less than 2i tons of fiber. 

* Specimens of the plants are growing in the conservatory of this Department, and 
of the fiber, in series, are preserved in the Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. See Report No. 5, 
Fiber Investigations series, Dept. Ag., chapter on Sansevieria. 

Sansevieria roxburghiana. Moorva. 

This species has been known and prized in India from remote antiquity under the 
name of Moorva or Murva. In the catalogue of Indian fibers, London (Exhibition, 
1862), it is called Moorga, Moorgavee, or Moorgdhvee. It is also known under the ver- 
nacular names of Murgavi, Murga, and Hazool. Its Sanskrit synonym is Goni. The 
plant "was long confused with S. zeylanica, but Sir Joseph Hooker (Flora of British 
India, VI, p. 271) has shown it to be quite distinct. The leaves reach 4 feet in 
height, narrow and semicircular in transverse section, faintly clouded with black. 
The plant is cultivated for the sake of its fiber, and is the original bowstring hemp 
plant. The many uses to which the fiber is applied in India are fully described in 
Watt's Dictionary of the Economic Products of India, VI, pt. 2, p. 460." (Dr. Morris.) 
From this it would appear that the following statements by Dr. George Watt refer 
to S. roxburghiana the true Indian species, and not to the Ceylon species S. zeylanica. 

Structural Fiber. — From the succulent leaves is extracted a fiber held in high 
esteem by the natives on account of its elasticity and consequent suitableness for 
bowstrings, Sir W. Tones says: "From the leaves of this plant the ancient Hindus 
extracted a very long thread called Maurvi of which they made bowstrings, and 
which for that reason was ordered by Menu to form the sacrificial zone of the mili- 
tary classes." Roxburgh, iu his detailed account of this fiber, makes the following 
12247— No. 9 19 



290 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

somewhat interesting remark: "I am inclined to think that the fine line called 
China grass, which is employed for fishing lines, fiddle strings, etc., is made of these 
fibers." (Roxburgh thus would seem to have regarded China grass and Rhea as two 
widely distinct fibers.) In his experiments 80 pounds of the fresh haves yielded 1 
pound of clean, dry fiber. He therefore concluded that the plant might be cultivated 
with advantage on account of its fiber. {George Watt.) It is, in fact, easily cul- 
tivated. The fiber is used for the preparation of cordage and matting in the regions 
where it occurs, and is much valued in Europe for ropes used in deep-sea dred^ings. 
Has been used for paper but is too expensive a fiber for this use. The fiber is pliant, 
soft, and silky, and much resembles that of the pineapple. It is usually prepared by 
taking the fresh leaves and placing one of them on a smooth board which is raised 
at one end. The lower end of the leaf is then pressed down by the toe of the work- 
man, who squats on the plank, and with a blunt knife, or piece of iron plate scrapes 
upward along the surface of the leaf and thus deprives it of its fleshy pulp by suc- 
cessive scrapings, turning the leaf over and over, as may be necessary. When the 
pulp is thorough* removed, the fiber is washed for three or four minutes, and dried 
in the shade. Washing in brackish or salt water, or continuous soaking in water is 
said to destroy the glossy white appearance of this fiber. 

Sansevieria zeylanica. The Neyanda. 

Another Indian species cultivated in Ceylon. Commonly cultivated in greenhouses, 
in the United States, and readily known by its shorter, darker leaves, heavily mot- 
tled or banded with white. The leaves are semicircular in transverse section, 1 to 2 
feet long, dull green with a red margin, and copiously banded with white. The Sin- 
ghalese use the fiber in numerous ways for string, ropes, mats, and a coarse kind of 
cloth. Generally the fiber is prepared by retting or by r-imply beating and washing. 
The small size of the leaves, and the difficulty of handling them in large quantities, 
would render this species of less value commercially than any of the preceding. 
In the Handbook of Ceylon, W. C. E., 1893. it is said that the plant grows in a wild 
state in the dry, drought-stricken districts of the country. It is usually found grow- 
ing among rocks, and affords a magnificent fiber of great strength. It is largely 
made up into ornamental ropes by an outcast race of Singhalese called the Rhodias, 
who do a small trade in this product. 

Sapindus saponaria. Soap Berry. 

Exogen. Sapindacea\ 

This genus consists of trees and shrubs found in the Tropics of both hemispheres. 
The outer shell or covering of the fruit of the above species contains a saponaceous 
principle that gives it its name. Found in tropical America. The plant is given in 
Dr. Ernst's catalogue, with the common name Parapara. 

Fiber. — The bast of this species yields a coarse fiber, suitable for native cordage. 
It is said to be cultivated in India. 

Sapucaya (Braz.). See LecytMs oJlaria. 

Sara, Sarapat, and Sarpatta (Hind, aud Beng.). See Saceharum sara. 

Sarali (Ind.). See Alnus nitida. 

Sarcochlamys pulcherrima. 

Syn. Urtica pulcherrima. 

This urticaceous species is described by the Die. Ec. Prod. Ind. as a bush or large 
shrub, with a stem often as thick as a man's leg. It is found in Assam, tin- Khasia 
Hills, Sylhet. Chittagong, and Burniah; distributed to Sumatra. Yields a dye, and 
the bark gives a good liber lor ropes. 

Saw palmetto (Fla.). See Serenoa serrulata. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



291 



Sarkara, Sanscrit name for sugar. 
Schcenus nigricans. 

An European species of sedge grass that is used in Italy for rough ropes. S. 
melanostachys is a Queensland species, the culms of which are used in basket manu- 
facture. 

Scirpus lacustris. The Bulrush. Mat Bush. 

A tall sedge abounding in ponds and swamps throughout North America; com- 
mon in Europe, northern Asia,, Australia, and some of the Pacific islands. Known 
in Italy as Giunco da stuoie ; in Hawaii as Akaahai. (See fig. 95.) 

Structural Fiber. — The entire stem is used in many parts of the world for mats 
and mattings. Among the curious and interesting objects manufactured from this 
sedge grass are baskets, beehives, horse collars, etc. ; in England, shoes, used in 
Denmark when thrashing buckwheat to prevent 
crushing the grain; packsaddles, in Guernsey, 
for conveying "wrack " from the seashore. The 
Kew Mus. exhibits a great coat made from this 
rush, in Portugal. A variety of the species, 
occidentalis, is the Tule of the Pacific Coast. 
Used in California as cases for the protection of 
wine bottles packed for shipment, just as straw 
covers are used for the same purpose in Europe. 
See also Eleocharis palasiris. 

The Yokuts of the Tulare Lake region of Cali- 
fornia construct very rude, frail punts, or mere 
troughs of Tule, about 10 feet long, in which 
they cruise timidly about the Tulare Lake, near 
the shore. (Stephen Powers.) 

* Specimens of Tule, Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Screw pine (see Pandanus). 

Scriptural fibers (see Introduction, 
Ancient Uses of Fibers). 

Sea rush (or coast rush). Juncus mari- 
timus. 

Sea mallow. Lavatera maritima. 

Sea mat grass. Sea reed and sea-sand 
grass. See Ammophila. 

Seaside grass. Cyperus tegetum. 

Fig. 95.— The Bulrush, Scirpus 

Seaweeds. ucustHs. 

While these marine plants are not strictly speaking fibrous, several species are 
employed in place of fibers, such as the Macrocystis, from which fish lines are obtained. 
In southern Europe the leaves of another form of marine or aquatic weed (see Zos- 
tera) is employed as a packing material. These plants belong, however, to the grass 
wrack order, and are in no way related to the true seaweeds or Algae. 

Sea -wrack, Grass wrack, etc. Zostera marina. 
Secale cereale. Eye. 

Endogen. Graminece. A cereal grass. 
An annual, 4 to 6 feet high, with flat leaves and a terminal, somewhat flattened, 




202 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

bearded spike 1 to <> inches long. The rye crop of the United States in 1S!)5 was 
27,210,070 bushels, nearly hull' of which was produced in the States of Pennsylvania, 
New York, and Wisconsin. Rye is more largely cultivated in central and northern 
Europe than in America, and the grain is there very largely used for making bread. 
Rye straw is little valued for fodder, but when green itis esteemed as a forage plant, 
and is sometimes sown for this purpose in the Southern States, cattle being allowed 
to graze it during the fall and winter months. 

Structural Fiber. — Rye straw is used as a straw-plait material, particularly in 
Italy, where the straw of both wheat and rye are employed in this industry. As the 
Italian use of the straw is interesting, tho following condensed account, from the 
work of M. A. Savorgnan, is presented: The stem of tho rye reaches a greater height 
than that of tho wheat sown in March, and when this plant is cultivated with especial 
care for its utilization as straw it becomes liner and whiter than that of the wheat, 
in many cases therefore this is selected, although it may be less durable. This straw 
is especially suited to tho thatching of cottages, for the making of beehives, of Large 
baskets for the transportation of dry tigs, beans, and similar products, also various 
uses about gardens. It is, besides, used in plaiting very fine braids for making hats 
of superior value. It is to be noted, however, that the stems should be cut before 
the maturity of tho grain and that the straw of the segale is difficult to manufacture, 
and that it splits easily. There are still found in the markets some hats, although 
they have almost gone out of use, said to be made from rice straw ( Paglia di riso), but 
they are such only in name, for they are made from the fiber of a kind of salce (wil- 
low) or from exceedingly lino strips of wood in which case they would more justly be 
called chip-hats, or hats made from shavings. 

Securidaca longepedunculata. 

The genus Securidaca belongs to the Asclepiadacece .and is composed of trailing 
shrubs, many of which are natives of tropical America. S. longepedunculata is a South 
African species, which grows in great abundance along the lakes and rivers of Cape 
Colony, South Africa. 

Last FIBER. — The material employed for making the beautiful fish nets used by 
tho Makouba tribe on Lake Ngami. ''Two kinds of liber appear to be furnished by 
the plant; one from tho bark of the twigs is very strong and durable, and would 
seem to be tho liber from which the nets are made, known in Xanibesiland as Budze 
liber; the other from the stem, cross sections of which show layers of fibrous bark 
between layers of wood." Budze fiber seems to have been first introduced to notice 
by Dr. Livingstone in 1857. In his Missionary Travels and Researches in South 
Africa, published in that year, he says (p. 645) that he submitted a small quantity of 
the liber to Messrs. I've Bros, of London, who reported that "The J>it<i:c evidently 
possesses a very strong and line liber, assimilating to flax in its character, but we 
believe when treated in quantity by our process it would show both a stronger and 
liner liber than llax ; but being unable to apply the rolling or pressing processes with 
efficiency to so very small a quantity, the gums are not yet so perfectly extracted as 
they would be, nor the liber opened out to so fine a quality as it would then exhibit." 
The opinion obtained by Messrs I've Bros, from Messrs. Marshall, of Leeds, was 
as follows: "The Budze liber appears to resemble llax, and as prepared by you will 
be equal to flax worth £50 or £60 per ton, but we could hardly speak positively to 
(he value unless we had 1 or 2 hundredweight to try on our machinery. However, 
wo think the result is promising, and we hope further inquiry will be made as to the 
probable supply of the material." Dr. Livingstone adds that the plant is stated to 
grow iii large quantities in the " Maravi count ry, north of the Zambesi , but it is not 
cult ivated, and that the only known use it has been put to is in making threads ou 

which the natives Btring their beads. Elsewhere the split tendons of animals are 
employed for this purpose. This seems to be of equal strength, for a firm thread of 
it feels Like catgui in the hand, and would rather cut the lingers than break." (kew 
Bull., Sept., 1889.) 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 293 

Notwithstanding the comparatively favorable report on this fiber, received so far 
back as 1857, nothing has since been done to further its utilization. 

Semenzuolo (It.)- Straw-plait from wheat. See Triticum. 

Sennoc (Alg.). Lygeum spartum, 

Serenoa serrulata. The Saw Palmetto. 

Endogen. Palmce. A trunkless palm. 

This is sometimes called the scrub palmetto, as it forms the undergrowth of vast 
areas of pine lands, and is found in other uncultivated tracts in Georgia and Florida, 
and is also found in Alabama and Louisiana. The supply of the plants is almost 
inexhaustible, for the palmetto grows everywhere, and its big roots, often as thick 
as a man's leg — and which are produced at the rate of 20 cords to the acre — will 
send forth an entire new crop of leaves within a year after clearing. The species is 
allied to Ghamaerops humilis of northern Africa, the leaves of which supply the Crin 
vegetal of commerce. Fig. 2, PI. X, illustrates the manner of growth of the saw 
palmetto, in the pine barrens of the South; hence its name scrub palmetto. 

Structural Fiher. — The fiber secured from the leaf stems is used commercially 
in the manufacture of a substitute for cows' hair, used in mixing mortar for plaster- 
ing houses, a product both cheap and durable, as lime does not destroy it. It is 
known as Nassau plastering fiber. The stiffer fiber when combed out is also used in 
the manufacture of a coarse kind of whisk broom. A coarse cordage might also be 
made from it, but it would lack in softness and strength compared with the com- 
mercial fibers. The leaves can be shredded to make a good upholstery material, 
and they also form a most valuable paper stock. Unless the cost of production 
should prove an obstacle, there is no reason why a valuable Florida industry should 
not be created by shredding the leaves of this palmetto for mattress fiber, as 1,000 to 
2,000 tons of such fiber is brought from Africa to this country annually. (See Cha- 
marops humilis.) Even if it did not pay to ship to the'northern fiber markets, local 
industries could be established that would make a home demand for the fiber. A 
difficulty, heretofore, in preparing this fiber, has been to give it the "curl" that is 
found in imported Crin vegetal, and which adds so much to the elasticity or springi- 
ness of the fiber in a mattress. This curl is given to Crin vegetal by twisting the 
shredded fiber into coarse ropes for compactness in shipping. 

Attempts have been made at various times to establish this industry, and while a 
number of satisfactory machines have been constructed for shredding the leaves, the 
industry has never attracted attention . It has been claimed that to sell the mattress 
material at $25 per ton, in order to compete with Crin vegetal, would entail a loss to 
the manufacturers. In a statement from the manager of a company that was formed 
seven or eight years ago, to manufacture this fiber, it was said that the raw material 
was purchased at $3 to $5 per ton, and that there was about 70 per cent loss by waste 
and evaporation. 

The fresh roots of S. serrulata which are 3 to 5 inches in diameter, are made into 
cheap brushes. They are sawed into disks an inch or more in thickness, the pulp 
scraped out; to the depth of two-thirds of an inch by means of toothed scrapiug 
wheels, when the longitudinal fibers, thus exposed, form the bristles of the brush, 
the untouched portion of the disk forming the back. This takes a fine polish, and 
when the sides are shaped and polished the brush is completed. 

Both roots and leaves of the palmetto contain a large percentage of tannin, and 
the extraction of the tannin from palmetto leaves has already become an industry. 
Leather is said to be tanned with this product in twelve days, and it is claimed that it 
can be more economically produced than the leather tanned with oak or hemlock 
bark. The residue forms a valuable paper stock, which is also utilized. After the 
tannin has been extracted the palmetto is steamed in a chemical solution, which 
removes the silicate contained in the palmetto and changes the glossy shield to a 
gummy mass, which can be removed without injury to the fiber. In making imitation 



294 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

horsehair this gummy mass is allowed to dry, as it adds to the elasticity of the 
fiber. There are several combinations in which the production of tannin and fiber 
can be advantageously operated. Tanneries situated in the vicinity of paper mills 
can grind the palmetto in the same manner as bark; the residue, after bleaching, is 
in the proper shape for the paper mill. In this way palmetto can be profitably 
shipped and used at long distances. Showing the cheapness of the supply of raw 
material, it is stated that the cost of cutting and gathering the palmetto will no 
exceed $2 per ton ; hauling and baling will cost about $1 per ton, and if 50 cents be 
paid for stumpage to the landowner it is claimed that palmetto ought to be delivered 
at the cars from $3 to $4 per ton, f. o. b. 

C. B. Warrand, who established a palmetto tannery at Savannah, Ga., stated that 
palmetto liber, not chemically treated, sold at wholesale at $80 per ton and retailed 
at 8 cents per pound; $70 per ton for a better article ought to be readily obtained at 
the works. In this process there is less loss than in spinning fiber, and 650 pounds 
of bedding fiber and 150 pounds of plastering fiber to the ton of palmetto can be 
safely relied on. 

The leaves of the saw palmetto are a favorite thatch material with the new ''home- 
steader/' whose first house is a palmetto hut, and very comfortable and picturesque 
dwellings they make. The Indians also know the value of the plant as a thatch 
material. 

"Specimens, in complete series, are preserved in U. S. Nat. Mus., Field Col. Mus., 
and Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag., all prepared by the writer. 

Sesbania aculeata. Dhunchee. 

Exogen. Leguminosce. An annual shrub. 

Native names. — Dhunchee, DhanicJia (Beng.); Jayanti (Ceyl. and Hind.); Ran- 
she-wra (Bomb.). 

The plants of this genus are slender, shrubby annuals, found in the warmer parts 
of both hemispheres. S. aculeata is an erect, slightly branched species that is culti- 
vated on the plains of India, from the western Himalayas to Ceylon and Siain, and 
has a cosmopolitan distribution in the Tropics. 

Bast Fiber. — This is the well-known Dunchee of India, which is highly esteemed 
for the manufacture of ropes and cordage, and is regarded as a coarse substitute for 
hemp. The plant is a native of the Malabar coast, and also grows in China. The 
plant grows to a height of 6 to 10 feet : the fiber is long, but much coarser and harsher 
than hemp. Bengalese fishermen make the drag ropes of their nets of this sub- 
stance on account of its strength and durability. It is generally grown in wet soil, 
requiring little preparation, as the plant is hardy and of rapid growth. It is sown 
at the rate of 30 pounds of seed to the acre. In northwest India, during the rainy 
season, it springs up in rice fields and other wet, cultivated lands. A peculiarity of 
the fiber is its remarkable contractability, as from contraction alone ropes made of 
it are said to be able 1o carry away the mainmast of a ship. 

A biga of land— which is one-third of an acre in Bengal— will produce 173 pounds 
of fiber and 92 pounds of seed. A woman will dress 4 pounds a day. Royle states 
that the product of an acre is 100 to 1,000 pounds of ill-cleaned fiber. At the Int. 
Exh., 1851, the fiber was valued at £30 to £35 per ton. It is prepared in the same 
manner as sunn hemp, Crotalaria juncea, which see for further information regarding 
the extraction and cleaning of the fiber. 

S. agyptiaca is another Indian species, the fiber of which has been used for cord- 
age. S. grandiflora, the agast, agusta, agasti, and agati of southern and eastern India 
and Burmah, is a soft- wooded tree 20 to 30 feet, "the inner bark of which appears 
likely to yield a good liber.'' (Dr. Watt.) It produces, also, a gum, medicine, food, 
and fodder for cattle. 

Sesbania macrocarpa. Colorado Kiver Hemp. 

Sesbania is the only genus in the family Leguminom- that has attracted attention 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 295 

in this country as fiber producing. Specimens of the straight, stiff canes of S. 
macrocarpa, or the wild hemp of the Colorado Eiver region, have been sent to the 
Department at different times in the past years, the best samples of stalks and fiber 
having been received from the veteran collector, Dr. E. Palmer. Dr. Parry, for- 
merly botanist of this Department, noted many years ago the abundance of the 
species on the alluvial banks of the Colorado, and also that it grew in South Caro- 
lina, Arkansas, and Texas. 

Bast Fiber. — Early specimens of the fiber, received by the Department, and now 
loaned to the Field Col. Mus., were 4 feet in length. Specimens twice or three times 
as long might be secured, however, as stalks 12 feet in height are common. The 
filaments as extracted are exceedingly coarse, and resemble flat ribbons of fiber, 
uncommonly Avhite and lustrous, and clear and smooth to a remarkable degree. 
Single filaments are quite strong, but when several are twisted together they lose a 
part of their strength, a defect sometimes observed in better fibers. It is somewhat 
elastic, but its smoothness and elasticity are not in its favor where tenacity is 
required, as the filaments will not cling when worked together. It is sufficiently 
strong for small cordage for ordinary use, though too coarse for fish line or twine, as 
roughly prepared. Among the manufactures for which it has been claimed that this 
fiber is fitted are wrapping, writing and bond papers, twine and cordage, "sacking, 
overall stuff, Irish linens/' and a fabric " better than the best Japanese pongee silk." 
The museum samples of fiber, collected by Dr. Palmer and known to be Sesbania 
macrocarpa are hardly capable of manufacture into " Irish linens" or "Japanese 
pongee silk," although the filaments can be very finely divided. A specimen recently 
submitted to Dr. Taylor was subdivided down to one ten -thousandth of an inch. 

Efforts to utilization. — At different times, in past years, efforts have been 
made to bring the plant into prominence. In an early letter from O. F. Townsend, 
of Yuma, Ariz., statements were made as follows: 

An indigenous plant commonly known here as wild hemp, producing a fiber of 
great excellence, grows profusely on both sides of the Colorado River from Yuma to 
tide water at the Gulf of California. The large fields lie in Mexican territory and 
cover nearly 100 square miles of area. Numerous experiments have been made with 
different kinds of machinery to utilize the valuable plant. The old hand-brake 
system produces 20 per cent of fiber. The Indians work it into nets and fish lines. 

From statements by D. K. Allen, of Yuma, Ariz., some interesting facts regarding 
the species have been gleaned. The wild hemp ripens from the 1st to the 3d of July, 
as a rule, and still in many places it holds green until September 1, and the late 
growth until October 1. It grows on the clean, clear soils or lands lying along the 
sloughs or branches of the Colorado and New rivers, which are dry during the fall 
and winter months. The first rise in the Colorado comes in February and lasts into 
March. The second comes in May and June and runs from that time on till the next 
February. The seed of the wild hemp sprouts and begins to grow in April and May, 
running up and appearing exactly like wild or overgrown mustard stalks — in fact, 
one could hardly tell one from the other except for the difference of taste in the seeds. 
When young they are not at all alike. As soon as the water recedes in August, and 
from that on, one can go almost anywhere through the hemp lands, although some 
of the sloughs, or branches of them, contain a little water which would have to be 
bridged. But they are very narrow, only 10 to 20 feet wide and only 2} to 5 feet 
deep, with plenty of wood, brush, and timber with which to build the bridges. 
Some of the hemp can be cut with a machine, but much of it will have to be cut by 
hand. In April there are stalks of the hemp which, a foot above the ground, will 
measure 10 inches in circumference, or more than 3 inches in diameter. One of the 
McCormick reapers, rigged with guards of the proper size and with a sickle to corre- 
spond, can be arranged so as to cut easily where they are not larger than a man's 
finger. The hemp can be dried and pressed into bales on the ground where it grows. 
It now grows all along the river, and back from it for 10 to 12 miles, to a distance, 
up and down, of 100 miles. Many of the sloughs where water remains throughout the 



29 G USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

year can be used. Flat boats tbat can carry 10 to 15 tons can be loaded and towed 
with horses or mules, poled or towed by Indians when the banks are too soft. Sails 
can also be used to take the hemp to the river, where it can be loaded on steamers 
and brought to the railroad, or down the river to the gulf, where it can be loaded 
upon vessels for any part of the world. 

It has been estimated that at the very least there arc 50,000 acres of it, and that in 
the poorest years it will yield 500 pounds of the dressed fiber per acre. This makes 
25,000,000 pounds— 12,500 tons, or 1,250 carloads of 10 tons each. Repeated efforts 
have been made by the Department to secure several hundred pounds of the liber for 
test, but even the offer to purchase it at a fair price has not brought any practical 
results. Even considering the coarseness of the fiber, should it be found quite inferior 
to the commercial cordage libers, the fact that it grows over such vast areas without 
cultivation, and with such large yield, commends it to our attention, for if it can be 
cleaned cheaply it has a value for some purpose, and when subdivided by after chem- 
ical treatment there is no doubt that the fiber might be used for higher purposes of 
manufacture. 

Sesbania platycarpa: A few years ago P. S. Clark, of Hempstead, Tex., stated that 
this species had suddenly made its appearance in his neighborhood. He described 
the fiber as very strong, and thought that it would make a good bagging fiber for 
baling the cotton crop. 

Seubbara (Arab.). Agave americana. 
Shacapa (Peru). Attalea spectaMUs. 
Sheathed galingale rush. Cyperus vaginatus. 
Sheathed rush (Vict.). Juneus pauciflorus. 
Shemolo (Ind.). Bombax maldbaricum. 
Sheoak (Austr.). See Gasuarina. 
Shichito-i mattings (Jap.). Cy penis unitans. 
Shining galingale rush (Viet.). Cyperus lucid us. 
Shivan and Shewun (Ind.). Gmelina arborea. 
Shoe-string grass (U. S.). Sporobolns cryptandrus. 
Short-podded yam bean. See Pachyrhizus. 
Shral (Ind.). Alnus nitida. 
Shwet-simul (Beng.). Eriodendron. 
Sida rhombifolia. 

Syn. Sida rliomboidea, S. retusa. 
Exogen. J\falvacea\ A perennial shrub. 

Common and native names. — Sida, and Tea-plant (U. S.)j Queensland hemp 

(Australian colonies); Atabula (Sane); Sivet Bariala and Sufet Bariala (Ind.); 

F.scoba (Venez.). 

Abounds in the tropical regions of India; distributed to Australia and to North 

and South America. According to the Pes. Ec. Prod. Ind., the Linnean varieties 

accepted by botanists are as follows: scabrida, retusa, rhomboidea, obovata, and 

rhombifolia. It seems probable tbat the sida fiber experimented with in Bengal has 

been chiefly obtained from S. rhombifolia or S. romboidea. S. rhombifolia abounds in 

many portions of South America. Dr. Ernst states that it is very common in Vene- 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 297 

zuela, growing wild in all localities, the fiber being readily extracted, and fine and 
strong. 

As far back as 1889 the Office of Fiber Investigations received from South Caro- 
lina statements regarding S. rhomMfolia, which, on the authority of J. P. Porchcr, 
of Eutawville, in that. State, had been known as a weed throughout that region for 
many years, at least since 1880. Later, when visiting Charleston, the attention of 
the writer was called to the plant by Dr. Panknin, who states that it had made its 
appearance in comparatively recent years, and was now a common roadside weed. 
As it was early in June, the stalks had not sufficiently matured to give particular 
evidence of value as a fiber plant, although later some good hand-prepared samples 
of the fiber were secured. It has also been grown in Alabama. 

Bast Fiber. — Chemists say that although closely similar to jute in structure and 
general chemical characteristics, it is in appearance a superior fiber, being softer to 
the touch and in all respects more uniform. 

A beautiful example of the fiber labeled Sida retusa, and known as "Queensland 
hemp/' was received by the Department in 1876 from the Queensland collection 
(Phil. Int. Exh., 1876), accompanied by another specimen from Victoria labeled Sida 
rhombifolia. The first named was prepared by Dr. Guilfoyle, who stated that the 
plant had established itself in Melbourne, and was of very quick growth, seeding 
freely. He regarded the fiber as suitable for fine paper and for the manufacture of 
cordage. The sample of S. rhombifolia is very white and lustrous, the filaments fine 
and even. In a portion of the museum sample the ribbon-like character of the bark 
is retained, filled with delicate indentations, giving it a lace-like appearance. These 
ribbons of fiber break easily, but a twisted cord of the finer prej)ared fiber, the size 
of cotton wrapping twine of the shops, broke only after repeated trials with the 
hands. The fiber was prepared by Alexander McPherson. In India the bark yields 
" abundance of very delicate flax-like fibers," which Dr. Roxburgh thought might be 
advantageously used for many purposes. Forbes Watson, in the Descriptive Cata- 
logue of the East Indian Department, International Exhibition, 1862, pronounces 
the fiber similar to jute in appearance, "but considered to be intrinsically so supe- 
rior that it is worth from $5 to $6 more per ton, and he places it next that fiber" in 
order to attract to it the attention which it deserves. Experiments with the fiber 
of S. rhombifolia demonstrated the fact that a cord one-half inch in circumference 
would sustain a weight of 400 pounds. In speaking of Dr. Roxburgh's specimens, 
Royle says "the fibers are from 4 to 5 feet in length, and display a fine, soft, and 
silky fiber, as well adapted for spinning as jute, but infinitely superior." Fur- 
ther experiments in India have demonstrated that sida fiber is also superior to jute 
from the fact that under hydrolysis, or bleaching and cleaning with alkali, "it loses 
a very much smaller proportion of its weight, is therefore less easily disintegrated 
by the action of water, and is consequently more durable." The fact that its stalks 
are not more than half the length (or size) of jute is a disadvantage compared with 
jute, as indicating a much smaller yield. George Watt, of the revenue and agricul- 
tural department of India, was of the opinion, regarding the Indian experiments, 
that the properties of the sida fiber recommended it as worthy all the time an 
expenditure necessary to ascertain whether or not all its advantages are counterbal- 
anced, from the money standpoint, by a less acreage in yield. Thirty years ago the 
fiber of "Sufet bariala" (S. rhomboidea) , as produced in India, was considered worth 
from $25 to $30 more per ton than jute. 

Growth in the United States. — The species has been cultivated in parts of the 
South as a forage plant. Statements received from Hon. G. D. Tillman, of South 
Carolina, in 1890, throw some light on the habits of the species : 

"I do not remember seeing a sprig of S. rhombifolia until about four years ago (1886), 
when a small patch of it first appeared in the back yard of my residence, whence 
it has spread over the yard, covering an acre or more of land, and scattering sprigs 
of it are appearing here and there at numerous localities over the large plantation. 
Last summer I saved 3 or 4 bushels of seed, and in the fall scattered them in waste 



298 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

places and in my pasture. In traveling about the State last year I discovered the 
plaut nourishing in the waste places of the streets in nearly every village and town. 
I also found it thriving in the lanes and along the roadside of the forest lands in the 
Tertiary formation or 'low country' of South Carolina, where a clay subsoil pre- 
vails, and wherever there was moisture as well as clay (in a shallow ditch, for in- 
stance), each separate sprig of thick-growing sida was 3, i, and sometimes 5 or 6 feet 
high. One striking peculiarity of the plant is that a single sprig growing by itself 
will bunch, or rather branch out from the stem just above ground, so as to resemble 
a squatty thicket of many short-limbed shrubs, with only one root, however; but 
when the sprig grows thickly, each from its own root, the plants are straight and 
without limbs or knots on the stems, except at the very top, and as tough as hick- 
ory, boxwood, or perhaps any other wood. I have several acres of this plant growing 
for pasture only. It is neither fit for hay nor for soiling, but it is a good pasture 
plant for cattle, sheep, and hogs. Horses do nor seem to relish it much, while cattle 
in particular appear to like it and thrive on it almost as well as upon Japan clover 
(Lespedeza striata). The plant has a wonderful tap root and a large leaf, besides the 
habit, where left to reseed itself, of standing very thick on the land and shading almost 
every inch of the surface of the soil. For these reasons I have thought it must be 
an excellent green manure plant, and am trying some experiments to test it as such. 
I am glad to hear from you now that my mucilaginous pet, sida, ' when planted thickly 
and allowed to mature, produces a finer fiber/ a virtue I did not dream it possessed, 
although I had often observed the great toughness and strength of its bark." 

The stalks of sida that have been sent to the Department for examination, as well 
as those seen by the writer in the field, from South Carolina are too small to be of 
value for the extraction of the fiber. Some stalks grown in Alabama, however, 
from India seed (marked S. retasa), reached a height of 5 feet. The conclusions of 
the writer regarding the cultivation of the plant on American soil — based upon the 
results of limited experiment, it is true, and from examining stalks from different 
localities — would lead to the statement that the plant is too slow in growth, and the 
stalks too small when grown, to make it of commercial value as a fiber plant. And 
it is doubtful if the bast will yield as readily to treatment as jute, for when steeped 
in water it is said to require almost double the time necessary to properly macerate 
the jute bast. 

* Specimens. — Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. ; Field Col. Mus. 

Other species. — S. carpinifolid is found in the hotter parts of India, its stems 
yielding a good fiber which is employed in native uses. It is also found in Brazil 
where it is employed for making brooms with which to sweep the huts of the 
natives. This species is now regarded as identical with S. rhombifolia. 

S. cordifolia (Syn. S. rotundifolia) is a small perennial weed generally distributed 
over tropical and subtropical India. " The plant yields a fine white liber.*' {George 
Watt.) A good example of the fiber of S. paniculata is preserved in the Bot. Mus. 
Harv. Univ. 

Silk, Artificial (see Artificial sill). 

Silk cotton. 

See this name under cotton — silk cottons, in alphabetical arrangement. 

Silk grass. 

This term is applied indiscriminately to many structural libers, derived from 
foliaceous plants, and as a distinctive name it is worthless. Some of the species of 
fibers that have been called silk grass, silk grass of Honduras, etc., are Ananas 
sativa, Karatas plumieri, Bromelia sylvestris. Furcrcea cubcnsis, and other similar forms, 
while the name has even been applied to the liber of some of the Agaves. Its use, 
therefore, without the botanical name of the species can only add to the confusion 
which already exists. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 299 

Silk, Vegetable (see Silk cotton). 

Silk wool, of Orozuz. Gonolobus maritimus and Ibatia muricata, of 
Dr. Ernst's list. 

Simal tree, of India. Bombax malabaricum. 

Sincara (Peru). See Maranta. 

Sinlo-kawa (Jap.). Cocos nucifera. 

Sinu-mataiavi (Fiji). Wilcstrocmia viridiflora. 

Sisal hemp (see Agave rigtda, varieties). 

Slender spike rush. Eleocharis acuta. 

Slender sword rush. Lepidosperma flexuosum. 

Slough grass (used for binding - twine). See Garex vulpinoidea. 

Snake gourd (see Luff a cegyptiaca). 

Soap berry. Sapindus saponaria. 

Soap plants. Chloragalum pomeridianum, Sapindus saponaria, Yucca 

baccata. 
Sola, or Shola (Beng.). Mscliyomene aspera. 
Solidago canadensis, Canada Golden Rod. 

Exogen. Compositce. A perennial herb. 
The golden rods are so familiar that they need no description. They can hardly 
be called fiber plants, but Dr. Havard informs me (on the authority of V. L. Porcher) 
that the stalks of the above species, which are numerous, straight, and almost 5 feet 
in height, afford very strong fiber when treated in the same manner as hemp. 

Somewake-Mushiro. Japan matting. Cyperus unitans. 

Sosquil. One of the Mexican names ol sisal hemp. See Agave rigida. 

Soymida febrifuga. Indian Bastard Cedar. 

Exogen. Meliacece. A lofty tree. 
Northwestern, central, and southern India, extending to Ceylon. Known as 
Rohun, Hind., Rohan, Beng., etc. The reddish fiber, derived from the bark, is used 
in Chutea Nagpur for strong ropes. 

Spanish bayonet (U. S.). Yucca aloifolia and other species. 
Spanish needle (Triii.). Yucca aloifolia. 
Sparmannia africana. 

Exogen. Tiliacece. Shrubs, 3 to 12 feet. 

Native of Africa. Common in greenhouses, and thus introduced into many coun- 
tries; flourishes in Victoria, where its growth is rapid. 

Bast Fiber,— The museum specimens of this fiber were received from tbe Phil. 
Int. Exh., 1876, and were prepared in Victoria by Dr. Guilfoyle. The fiber is of a 
beautiful silvery-gray color when it has been properly prepared. Some of the fila- 
ments are brilliant and lustrous, and it possesses considerable strength ; in fact, seems 
almost equal to China grass in tenacity. "The fiber, which is produced in large 
quantities (in Victoria), is of a very fine texture. For many purposes it is equal, if 
not superior, to the Chinese grass cloth plant." (Dr. Guilfoyle.) 



300 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

The advantages -which Sparmannia has over all other fiber plants, and which ele- 
vates it to the highest rank of agricultural products, are, that it is perennial: it is 
one of the very hcst forage plants in existence; its enormous yield, Loth of fodder 
and fiber, the great strength and dazzling whiteness of the fiber, the facility with 
which it takes dyes, and the extremely low prices at which it can be produced 
making it accessible even to the paper manufacturer. (Jean h'oth.) 

Economic considerations. — In 1890 the Department received from Dr. Harris, of 
Key "West, an interesting account of the culture and preparation of this tiber plant 
from notes from the South African authority quoted above. From these notes it is 
learned that Sparmannia grows in almost any except a brackish soil. It requires 
deep plowing and is much benefited by manuring, although it grows luxuriantly in 
South Africa in soils where no other crop will grow without fertilization. The seeds 
should be sown in drills 28 inches apart, and the plants thinned out to the distance 
of 14 or 16 inches in the drill as soon as all danger from frost has passed. The plants 
taken up in thinning transplant as easily as mangel-wurzel. It has no insect enemies 
of consequence. 

As soon as the plants are from 12 to 18 inches high they should be nipped, or bud- 
ded, if they do not branch out freely. From 12 to 18 stalks should grow from each 
plant the first year. After the first cutting upward of 50 stalks will spring out; the 
greater the number the slenderer the growth and the stronger the fiber. Reapingmay 
begin about six months from the time of sowing and continue six months. In climates 
where the orange tree grows four crops would be certain, which would amount to 12 
tons per acre during the year. The stalks for fiber should be cut about 6 inches above 
the soil and may be treated to extract the fiber at once. They should not be cut, how- 
ever, more than twelve hours in advance. For this purpose any of the various hemp or 
flax machines will answer. A jet of water, however, must always flow over the place 
of friction. Before the fiber is dried it should be sulphured similarly to straw goods. 
Another way of extracting the fiber is by retting the stalks in water, which is the 
cheaper and easier way. This is done in vats, which should be so constructed as to be 
easily emptied, and should not be more than 1 feet deep. A vat 20 by 40 feet, and 4 feet 
deep, will hold enough stalks to produce a ton of cleaned fiber. To secure a uniform 
whiteness of the fiber water should be gently running from one vat to another all 
the while, and never at a temperature lower than 18° C. in the daytime. When a vat 
is packed with stalks narrow inch boards should be placed across it on the stalks, so 
that tubs or casks filled with water can be put upon them so as to hold the stalks 
constantly under water at least 2 inches, where they should be allowed to remain 
ten or fifteen days, when they will be found ready for washing. The washer now 
takes his station alongside of the vat, and taking a handful of the stalks in his hand, 
catching them in the middle, he turns the top ends toward the surface of the water 
at an inclination of about 45° and pokes the thin ends three or four times into the 
water, when, if the stalks are sufficiently retted, the fiber at the upper end hangs 
down in a lock of which the washer takes hold and lets loose the middle, so that 
the whole handful hangs upon the lock or loose fiber. He then gives two or three 
jerks with the hand, holding the fiber lock upward, and all the stalks free from fiber 
drop out. This is repeated until he has a good handful separated from the stalk. 
He again takes them at the end and lowers the hand until about 6 inches from the 
water, so that the fiber nearly floats upon the surface. He then moves the hand 
quickly from right to left several times and the fiber is washed as white as snow. 
Then taking the clean end in his hand, he repeats the operation with the other end; 
the whole operation is done quickly. Half an hour's practice will make a skilled 
washer of any person of ordinary intelligence. One person can wash out 100 pounds 
of clean fiber in ten hours. This shows how easily the tiher is extracted and cleaned, 
and how simple the machine must bo to supplant hand decortication. The syndicate 
used ordinary scutchers with water jets, after the plan of the W. E. Death patent. 
They found out that the retting and hand decortication was the best and cheapest, 
as there was no waste. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



SOI 



Spartina cynosuroides. Fresh Water Cord Grass. 

Endogen. Graminea. Au erect grass, 2 to 9 feet. (Fig- 96.) 
Common names. — Cord grass; fresh water cord grass ; marsh grass; hull grass; 
thatch grass ; slough grass. 

The species of this genus are chiefly natives of America; there are British repre- 
sentatives, hut they are rare. "The ahove species is a native, common along our 
ocean and lake shores, horders of rivers, etc., ranging from Maine to the Carolinas, 
and westward to the Pacific. It makes a fair but rather coarse hay when cut early, 
and has been successfully employed in the manufacture of paper. The strong, creep- 
ing, scaly rootstocks of this grass adapt it for binding loose sands and river embank- 
ments." (F. Lamson-Scribncr.) 

Structural Fiber. — T wenty 
years ago or more this grass was 
utilized in paper manufacture at 
Quincy, 111., where it was found in 
vast quantities. It cost at the mill 
about $5 per ton, and made a very 
firm, better class of brown Avrap- 
ping paper — superior to straw — 
samples of which can be seen in the 
museum of the Department of Ag- 
riculture. The bruised stalks pre- 
sent quite a fibrous appearance. 

S. gracilis is another possible pa- 
per-making species, found on the 
plains and in the Rocky Mountain 
legions. 

Spartina juncea. 

Common names.— Fox grass; 

white rush; marsh grass; 

salt grass; sea salt grass ; salt 

marsh grass ; rush marsh 

grass. 
A rather slender species, 1 to 2 
(rarely 3 to 4) feet high with two 
or four slender, erect, or widely 
spreading spikes. This is common 
upon the salt marshes, and is one 
of the most valued species which 
go to form the salt hay that these 
marshes produce. It ranges from 
Maine southward to Florida and 

along the Gulf coast to Texas. It is useful for packing glassware, crockery, etc. , and in 
the larger towns along the coast is much used for this purpose. (F. Lamson-Scribner. ) 
S. stricta, the creek sedge, branch grass, etc., grows along the Atlantic and Pacific 
coasts, and is also found in Europe. It is sometimes used as a thatch material. 

Spartium junceum. Spanish Broom. 

Common names. — The Ginestra di Spagna of the Italians; the GenM d'Espagne of 
the French; Gayumba, Spanish. 

A native Mediterranean species of broom, widely cultivated as an ornamental 
plant, and as a forage plant, and formerly for its fiber. Found in southern France, 
Spain, and Italy. One of the ancient fibers known to the Greeks and Romans, its 
generic name being derived from sparton, meaning cordage. 

Structural Fiber. — This is obtained from the young shoots by maceration and 




Fig. 96. — Cord grass, Spartina cynosuroides. 



302 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

subsequent separation of the woody portions of the stem somewhat as ilax is pre- 
pared, after which the fiber is combed and cleaned ready for spinning. It has been 
employed in paper manufacture, as upholstery material, as a tie material, for cord- 
age manufacture, and. lastly, for weaving into fabrics. At Casciana, in Italy, on the 
Leghorn and Florence Railway, hot-spring water is used for the retting; and a com- 
pany was some years since formed for growing the plant and manufacturing the 
fiber on a large scale. Specimens of the fiber were exhibited at the Vienna Exhibi- 
tion of 1873 from Florence, Italy, with a memorandum as follows: Taking note of 
the expense necessary to render this filament flexihle and fit for weaving, we find 
that it is considerably less than that for flax and hemp and that the fabric obtained 
is more tenacious and also lighter, since from 11 kilos of llax we obtain GO meters of 
cloth, while the same measure woven from ginestra weighs only 7 kilos, and the cost 
of the first is 72 lire, while that of the second, according to the experiments made, 
cost only 45 lire. 

In Spain very fine tissues are made from this species, and even lace, which is 
highly prized. In southern France likewise, ordinary fabrics are made from the 
plant, which are worn by the peasants in the mountainous regions, and said to be 
very durable. 

The ancient use of this fiber is very interesting. The Greeks, Romans, and Car- 
thagenians employed it for cordage of all descriptions, nets, bags, and even sails. 
Pliny writes of the Ginestra, and in the thirteenth century the fiber was employed 
for wadding and in tow "that may be used in place of hemp and flax."' The Italian 
peasants from time immemorial have used this fiber for the manufacture of tin coarse 
Parmo Ginesiro or Ginestra cloth, though the factories have never employed it in spin- 
ning and weaving. 

Cultivation. — The seed is sown in winter, with some other crop. For three years 
the plant receives only an occasional thinning out. The young spring shoots are cut 
in February-March, or sometimes not till after harvest, the former being preferable. 
Toward the end of August, they are collected in small haudfuls, and laid on the 
ground to dry, after which they are made up into large bundles, of 25 to 30 handfuls 
each, and stored. On a damp day they are beaten with a mallet, so as to flatten 
them without breaking them, and toward the end of September they are put under 
stones in a river for half a day. In the evening they are taken out and arranged in 
rows on a specially prepared plot of ground, near the stream, ready for watering. 
For this purpose a bed of fern, straw, or chopped box is prepared, and in this the 
bundles of broom. are placed one over another, the whole heap being finally covered 
with another layer of straw or box, on the top of which stones are placed, so as to 
keep the whole secure, and exclude sun and air. Thus placed, it is watered every 
night for eight days, allowing about 1 hectoliter water for each bundle of 50 handfuls. 
On the ninth day the retting is complete. The bundles are then alternately washed 
in running water, and beaten on a flat stone, till the fiber is separated from the 
woody portion. The bundles are next spread fan-wise on the ground to dry and 
bleach, when they are again collected and put away till winter. (Spon.) 

Spatholobus roxburghii. 
Syn. Butea parviflora. 
A gigantic climber, belonging to the Leguminosce, found in the "forests of the sub- 
Himalayan tract from the Jumna eastward to Bengal and Burmah. The plant yields 
a gum, the seeds an oil, and the bark a fiber that is twisted into ropes and bow- 
strings.'' (Die. Ec. Prod. Ind.) 

Spathodea rheedii. 

A tall tree belonging to the Bignoniacece, found in portions of India ami Malabar. 
The species of this genus are natives of Asia and Africa. "A fiber i- extracted from 
both the branches and roots, used for making net^." | Spon.) The revised name of 
this species is DoUchandrune rheedii. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



303 



Spear Lily (Vict.). Doryanthes excelsa. 

Sphaeralcea cisplatina. 

This genus of Malvaceae is closely allied to Malva, and includes a number of trop- 
ical American species. S. cisplatina, the fiber of Malvalisco, is us.ed in Brazil to a 
slight extent. S. umbellata is a Mexican species, known in Australia as the Globe 
mallow. Guilfoyle states that its bast yields silky fiber, useful for cordage. 

Sphagnum spp. 

A genus of mosses, essentially aquatic plants, or plants requiring a great deal of 
moisture. They do not yield fiber, but on account of the softness and elasticity of 
the plauts in mass they make an admira- 
ble packing material. The plants form _/?/ 
turf beds rapidly, but unless mixed with 
other plauts the turf is spongy and un- 
fitted for use. S. cymbifolium, bog moss, 
is used in Norway, in house construction, 
for stuffing between the timbers to ren- 
der the house water-tight. "S. vulgar e 
is a German species, which has been used 
for paper." (Bemardin.) Some of the 
American species are employed in nur- 
series as a packing material for living 
plants. In other countries the material 
has been used in a dry state for packing 
fine glassware. 



Spike rush (see Elsocharis). 
Sponge cucumber (see Luff a). 
Sponia (see Trema). 

Sporobolus cryptandrus. 

Prairie Grass. 

A strongly rooted perennial grass 2 to 
3 feet high, common on the Western 
plains and in the Rocky Mountain re- 
gion. It is well liked by stock, and 
where it occurs abundantly is very gen- 
erally regarded as an important forage 
plant. (See fig. 97.) 

Structural Fiber.— In 1891 a speci- 
men of this grass was sent to the Depart- 
ment from Kansas by a correspondent, who stated that its superior strength recom- 
mended it as a useful fiber plant, and that it was worthy of cultivation as a raw 
material for paper stock, and possibly for cordage manufacture. The grass first 
makes its appearance on ground that has been plowed, and that has lain fallow for 
one or two years. The farmers have given it various names such as "tow grass," 
"leather grass," "shoe-string grass," etc. 

The fibrous portion of the plant appears to be the leaf sheaths of the blossom 
stalk, and some of these are very strong, but of too short length to utilize in manu- 
facture. The average of several tests of these leaf sheaths, twisted together, showed 
a breaking strain of 65 pounds, while the lower stem portion of the plant broke at 
20 pounds. The length of the sheath is from 12 to 15 inches. The grass would make 
a very strong paper, of better quality than ordinary wrapping paper, and no doubt 




Fig. 97.— Prairie grass, Sporobolus cryptandrus. 



304 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

■writing paper could be made from it. As before stated, the liber is too short, how- 
ever, to he spun into cordage or yarns-, though when rubbed out in the hand it is fine, 
hut brittle and harsh to the touch. 

"Where the old growth is thiek on the ground the fiher is so tough and strong 
that it can not he cut with a common mowing machine." (J. W. Cooper.) The leaves 
ol* the infiorescence. which are the fibrous part of the plant, are Too short, however, 
for employment as a liber. 

Sporobolus indicus. Sweet Grass. 

COMMON names. — Carpet grass; drop-seed grass; Parramatta, or tussock grass 
in Australia). The Brazilian mime is Capim maurdo. 

A tufted, wiry, erect perennial, 1 to 3 feet high, with narrow, densely flowered, 
spike-like panicles 4 to 12 inches long. This grass is widely distributed throughout 
the warmer temperate regions of the world, and has become quite common in many 
parts of the Southern States, growing in scattered tufts or patches about dwellings 
and in dry, open fields. Occurs in Brazil. 

Structural Fiber. — While the jdant is not used industrially in this country, it 
is employed in southern Brazil as a straw plait material. "The stalks from the 
flower to the last knot serve for the manufacture of straw plait used for hats and 
other articles made of straw, which are softened by means of sulphnr. It grows 
easily hut prospers best in humid places. Blooms late in winter and in spring. 

Spruce (see Picea spp). 

Spurge laurel. Daphne cannabina. 

Stenosiphon virgatum. 

An uncultivated plant, belonging to the Onagracexv, found in Texas, where it grows 
to a height of 6 feet. A correspondent sent stalks to the Department, several years 
ago, as a possible fiber plant, as the fiher, being fine and silky, was thought to he of 
value. Like many fibers of this class the species is more interesting than useful. 

Sterculia. 

Xearly all the species of this genus are trees, many of them of large size, and 
most abundant in Asia and the Asiatic islands. They are also found sparingly 
in America, Africa, and Australia, and for the most part inhabit tropical countries. 
The inner bark of the Sterculias is composed of tough fiber which is not affected by 
wet. Some of the species are as follows: 

Sterculia acerifolia. The Flame Tree. 

Exogen. Sterculiacea. A very large tree. 

This species is a native of New South Wales, and is a lofty tree. Dr. Guilfoyle 
states that the bark is fully 2 inches thick when the tree is full grown, and furnishes 
bast for a most beautiful lace-like texture. The fiber is very simply prepared by 
steeping, and is suitable for cordage and nets, ropes, mats, baskets, etc., and is use- 
ful as a paper material. The tow is of a Aery elastic nature, and is suitable for 
upholstering purposes, such as stuffing mattresses or pillow s. The specimens were 
received from Victoria (Phil. Int. Exh., 1876), and were prepared by Dr. Guilfoyle. 
The species is found in many portions of the globe. < >ther Australian species follow. 

Sterculia dirersifolia, the Victorian bottle tree, also known as Currijong, is a native 
of Victoria, and is a stout, glabrous tree, having a peculiar bottle-shaped trunk. 
The bast is similar to that of S. acerifolia, but coarser in texture. The liber is suit- 
able for coarse ropes and cordage. It would also make line matting, and could be 
used as a paper material, specimens from Dr. Guilfoyle'a Victorian collection. 

Sterculia rupesiris, the Queensland bottle tree, is a native of Queensland, where 
the tree attains a considerable height, and has an enormous bottle-shaped trunk, 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 305 

from which it derives its name. Its bark is thick and strong, and can he vised for 
the same purposes as the other species. (Dr. Guilfoyle. Victorian collection.) 

Sterculia lurida is the "sycamore" of the colonists. This species is a native of 
New South Wales. The tree is of large size, resembling acerifolia in appearance. 
"Its hark is a valuable fiber-yielding material." In New South Wales it is made up 
into a variety of fancy articles by the colonists. The fiber is the inner bark of the 
tree, and when freshly stripped has a lace-like character which adapts it for fancy 
work. (Dr. Guilfoyle. Victorian collection.) 

Sterculia fatida: This species, a native of New South Wales, is also indigenous in 
the East Indies and the Malayan Peninsula. The fiber is similar to the preceding, 
and is manufactured into mats, bags, cordage, and paper. £. quadrifida is another 
New South Wales species, also represented in Dr. Guilfoyle's collection. * Specimens 
of the above are in the Mus. U. S. Dept. Ag. 

Sterculia caribaea. Red Mahoe. 

Found in Trinidad and New Caledonia. A large tree, 40 to 50 feet in height. 

Bast Fiber. — The fiber- is of considerable strength, but it requires retting to 
get out the mucilage which is so common in Sterculiacecc, Tiliacecv, and Malvacece. 
It could not be treated commercially unless large areas were planted, as the trees, 
though common in places, are by no means numerous. 

Sterculia guttata. 

Native of Malabar. Found in India, Eastern and Western Peninsulas, Ceylon, and 
the Andaman Islands. 

The bark of trees, of the tenth year, is employed by the natives on the western 
coast of India for making coarse clothing and cordage. The tree is felled, its 
branches are lopped, the trunk is cut into pieces 6 feet long, a longitudinal incision 
is made in each piece, and the bark is opened, taken off entire, chopped, washed, 
and sun dried. In this state, it is very pliable and tough, and is used for clothing 
without further preparation. (Spon.) 

Sterculia villosa. The Udal. 

Northwestern India, Bengal, and Malabar; tropical Himalayas. 

Fiber. — Royle states that the bast, or rather all the layers, can be stripped from 
the bottom to the top of the tree with the greatest facility, and fine, pliable rope is 
made from the inner layers, while the outer ones yield a coarse rope, which is strong 
and durable and little injured by water. 

A valuable fiber is obtained from the liber, which is made into ropes and bags. It 
is very strong, and in southern India and Burmah is much esteemed for the purpose 
of making elephant ropes. In northern India the ropes from this fiber are chiefly 
used in making cattle halters. The rope is said to become stronger for a time from 
being frequently wetted, and if constantly exposed to moisture it seldom lasts more 
than eighteen months. A good paper is said to have been made from it in India, but 
the samples of fiber sent to Europe were not favorably reported on as paper-making 
materials. (See Kew Bull., 1879.) 

Compared with jute, according to Dr. Roxburgh's experiments, Sterculia fiber (S. vil- 
losa) stood a strain of 53 pounds, against 68 pounds for jute, Corcliorus olitorius — C. cap- 
sularis sustaining 1 pound less. Among other Indian species may be mentioned S.colo- 
rata, inferior fiber, harsh and wiry. Reported as a worthless fiber by Hemp and Flax 
Com. of Agri. Hort. Soc. of India. S. lanceafolia, fiber made from it in the Panjab. S. 
urens yields a good fiber, samples of which were sent to the Paris Expos. 1878, employed 
for paper. S. tomentosa is an Angola species which is said to afford excellent fiber. 

Stinging nettles. 

These plants belong to the genus rriica, Laportea, etc., the stingless nettles, or 
cultivated species, being the Boelxmerias, etc. (see Nettle). Urtica dioica is the com- 
mon stinging nettle of Europe. 
12247— No. 9 20 



306 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Stipa tenacissima. Esparto Grass. 

Syn. Macrochloa tenacissima. 

Endogen. Gramineas. A wild and cultivated grass. 

Native and common names. — Alfa or Haifa (Alg.); Esparto. Spanish and 
(corumercial) English; Sparte, French. 

Native of north Africa, Spain, and Portugal, and is said to he found in Greece. A 
plant occupying a large area in northern Africa and the southern Mediterranean 
provinces. In Algeria, in the provinces of Oran Algiers and Constantine. In Spain 
it covers an area of plateau land comprised within a triangle including Malaga. Va- 
lencia, and Madrid. It is ahundant in the provinces of Mercia and Alnieira. In the 
south of Portugal, in the Iherian peninsula. In Morocco it borders the seacoast as 
far as Tangiers, on the high Daharian plateau which succeeds that of Oranais. This 
cultivation has extended into south France. The plant is said to have been seen in 
Greece, but this is contradicted by Algerian authorities. 

It thrives in varied situations in the regions where it grows, from the level of the 
seacoast to elevations of 6,000 feet, frequently crossing the foothills, where it forms 
their only vegetation. It is also found in deep forests, and abounds in such desert 
regions as lie to the southeast of Laghaout and Tripoli. The plant is frequently 
confounded with Lygeum spartum, under the name Sparte (" Sennoc" or Albardine 
Alg.), and also with Amixlodismos tenax, or the Diss, these three species being the 
abundant grasses of the north of Africa. Haifa or esparto is a perennial plant with 
branching roots, which form first a homogeneous stump whieh becomes a tuft when 
the center roots perish. The exterior branches, which also form a tuft, separate as 
they become further removed from each other aud their center and become the 
nucleus of new clusters, which likewise form tufts, which are hollowed out at the 
center and send out branches, which in their turn form other tufts if the soil permit. 
The leaf, which varies with the age and condition of the plant, is from 25 to 120 
centimeters in length, but has a mean length of from 50 to 80 centimeters. During 
growth it spreads out in an even, Tibbon-shaped blade. Its upper surface is relieved 
by seven large veins, which are separated by deep furrows and entirely covered by 
down or hair. The under surface, which, by torsional movement in the length of the 
leaf, is turned upward, is smooth, glossy, and without salient veins. Under the 
influence of drought the two halves of the leaf meet and form a tough, dry, and rush- 
like blade. The point of the leaf is sharp, rough, prickly, and slightly yellow. 
Upon healthy, strong plants, and during the wet season, the leaves are of a line 
dark green. Under the influence of drought this green becomes canescent. The 
leaves of the esparto are persistent, remaining at least two years upon the plant. 
"When old they become a prey to cryptogams Disintegration commences at the 
point of the blade and finally covers the whole. These darkened leaves cumber the 
stalk and form a veritable gray felt, through which the young leaves emerge. Usu- 
ally the old leaves turn yellow and are disarticulated from the sheath at the point 
at which they join. An early attack made upon the points of the leaves by cryp- 
togams depreciates the esparto, and it is distinguished in accordance with these 
attacks and their effects, first, as the green point; second, sharp, dry point, pointe 
d'ort'e (golden point) ; third, gray point and disintegrated by cryptogams. (L'Halfa. 
Pamphlet, Paris Exp., 1889,— Extraits d'une Etude sur lllalfa. par L. Trabut. 1888.) 
Structural Fiber. — -The fibers are extremely fine, uniform, transparent, and 
from the purity of the cellulose the substance is admirably adapted for paper mak- 
ing. The commercial product varies from 15 inches to 2 feet or more in length, is 
greenish yellow in color, presenting the appearance of a smooth, stiff, tapering stem. 
While its commercial use is in paper making, it has been employed in the countries 
where grown for the manufacture of cordage, sandals, basket work, etc. It has also 
been used, after crimping, as a mattress material, and it is said that the liber has 
been employed in the Scotch carpet trade in Kidderminster and Prussels good-. 
The chemical constituents of the liber are said to be yellow coloring matter, 12: red 
matter, 6; gum and resin, 7; salts forming the ash, 1.5: paper stock. 7:5.5. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 307 

Experiments in the United States. — An effort was made in 1868 to introduce 
the culture of Esparto into this country. Seed was obtained from Paris seedsmen, 
which was distributed in the South for planting on the hill lands and mountain 
slopes, but nothing practical was accomplished. Viewing the culture in this coun- 
try from the agricultural standpoint, there is no doubt it will thrive in many locali- 
ties, but from the economic standpoint it can never become an American industry. 

Soil, climate, and culture. — The plant does not thrive in clay, on marsh lands, 
or in a pebbly soil. Soils impregnated Avith oxide of iron are favorable, and cal- 
careous soils produce strong fiber. On argillaceous soils (decomposed shale, etc.) 
the grass is shorter but the liber stronger. It requires a decidedly hot and some- 
what dry climate. Spon states that the plant succeeds best at moderate elevations 
on the seacoast, none comparing with those where the plant is under the immediate 
influence of the sea air. Here the fiber is fine, short, and even. At the same time, 
much finer Esparto, with longer leaf, is found inland, but instead of being all of 
uniformly superior kind the prime will form only one-half or one-fifth even of the 
whole, the remainder being coarse and rank. Sunshine is eminently beneficial, if 
not essential. The coast grass is preferred by paper makers, while the longer growth 
from the interior is sought after for making sieves, baskets, etc. 

The plant is propagated by seed, by transplanting old plants, and by burning over 
the tracts. "The surface portions are alone affected by the fire, the stalks sending 
up a vigorous growth, producing in five years a halfa much sought after, the halfa 
Mane, the flexible leaves of which are used in manufactures." (Trdbut.) When 
transplanted, in autumn, the roots are divided into several pieces and set out in rows 
2 feet apart and about 8 inches in the row. Spon states that transplanted plants 
are productive in six to eight years, while from the seed no return may be expected 
before twelve years. 

Harvesting. — The leaf of the halfa, when thoroughly developed, is composed of 
two parts, the blade or lamina and the sheaf, which are united by articulation. The 
tissues are not continuous; the innumerable fibers, which give the blade its remark- 
able solidity, cease suddenly on a line with this articulation. By a slight thrust the 
blade is separated from the sheath. This ease of disarticulation is the starting point 
of all the processes of stripping or extraction. The blades can be gathered by hand 
if a stout pair of gloves be worn, and in this way the more carefully selected. This 
is by far the best method if we would preserve the plant, but it is not always prac- 
ticed. A laborer does not accomplish so much in this way as by the old way of beat- 
ing them with a small stick, which is followed entirely in factories, and has been 
from the most remote periods. The laborer, having in his left hand a stick 40 centi- 
meters in size, with a leather strap at the handle, seizes a handful of leaves with his 
right hand, wraps them around the stick, which is held obliquely, and then pulls 
strongly with both his hands. Numberless blades become disarticulated, and two 
or three roots of the stock break and come with them. The laborer passes his right 
hand under the lower edges up the blade and encounters the pendant rootlets, which 
lie throws away with the leaves that adhere to them, keeping, if possible, only the 
disarticulated blades, of which he makes a bunch or "manoque" by putting together 
the product of several bunches. Notwithstanding this first sorting, the halfa carries 
with it to the factory many sheafs. The ends of the stalk and the sheaths are used 
as forage, and are gathered with the plants that are used for this purpose. Horses 
nnd camels are very fond of the base of the sheath. When halfa lias been dried, 
assorted, and classified, it is weighed, baled, and subjected to hydrostatic pressure; 
then it is taken to the seaboard and exported. 

An industrious laborer will average from 300 to 400 kilograms of green halfa in a 
day, a native from 150 to 200, a woman or old man 100, children 12 or 15 years old 
from 35 to 50 kilograms. The same method of gathering halfa is practiced through- 
out the halfa region, and there seems to have been no change in it since the time of 
Pliny. This gathering by means of the batonnet or stick will not be given up until 
a machine shall have been invented which will yield a larger return. (Trahut.) 



308 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Commercial ASPE< rs. — According to Ide & Christies London Circular for July 
1, 1896, over 200,000 tons of Esparto was imported into the United Kingdom during 
the year, worth from £3 to£5 per ton. No large quantities, however, are hrought to 
this country, as the value of Esparto and other grasses imported for paper stock for 
the year ending June. 1895, reached only about $1,500. For further accounts, see Rept. 
U. S. Dept. Ag., 1868: Spon's Enc. Div. III. 

Stipa spp. 

S. semibarbata is a native of Tasmania. Spon states that ''alter the seed lia-- 
ripened the upper part of the stem breaks into the fiber, which curls loosely and 
hangs down. The quality of fiher in this state must he inferior to what it would 
become under proper treatment."' 

S. gigantea is a closely allied but taller species, confined to Spain and Portugal. 
In Australia occur S. setacea. S. pubescens, and S. micrantha; in Argentina several other 
species are found, hut they are not especially regarded for their liber. 

Stout spike-rush. Eleocharis sphacelata. 

Stramanthe sanguinea (see Maranta). 
Straw plait, Commercial. 

The art of plaiting straw, the stems of grasses, and the leaves of palms and simi- 
lar plants is almost as old as the human race, for plaiting was practiced before 
weaving, and became known when primitive man laid oft* the skins of animals for 
clothing and adopted tissues made from animal and vegetable libers. Commercial 
straw plait, however, is understood to mean material produced by braiding the split 
stems of wheat, rye. barley, and rice, these braids or plaits being employed in the 
manufacture of hats. 

The finest straw plait is the Italian or Tuscan, and is largely produced from wheajt 
straw. Bohemian straw plait is also made from wheat straw. In Japan and China, 
rice straw is largely used for this purpose, though considerable barley straw is also 
utilized. In our own country the braiding of straw has been an industry in past 
time, though chiefly prepared by the women of the household: and as late as thirty 
or forty years ago it was quite an industry in "Massachusetts. The large manufac- 
turers of straw goods in this country, however, rely upon the imported article for 
their plait. The principal countries producing commercial straw plait are Italy, 
France, Germany. Austria, China, and Japan. For further information see Triti- 
cum vulgare, Harden m distichum, Secale cereale, and Orrj:« sotiva in this work, 
also Poapralensis and Sporobolus indieus, among grasses used for the same purpose. 

"Specimens of straw plait, in series, are shown in the museum of the Department 
of Agriculture. 

Streaked lantern flower. Abutilon striatum. 

Streblus asper. 

Exogen. Urticacece. A rigid shrub, or gnarled tree. 

Native names. — Op-nai Burm. : Geta-nelul (Ceyl. ij Ton Klioi (Siam). 

Widely distributed throughout India. Ceylon, and tropical Asia, and known under 
many native names. 

Bast Fiber. — From the bark is obtained a fiber similar to that from llroussonttia 
papyri/era, from which paper is made in Siam. The process of manufacture is sim- 
ple. The smaller branches of the tree are cut, and steeped in water for two or three 
days. The bark is then stripped off, and brought in bundles and sold to persons who 
make the paper. The bunches of bark are put in water for two or three days by the 
paper maker, and, having been cleansed from dirt, are taken out and steamed over a 
slow lire for two days, a little clean stone lime being sprinkled through the bark. 
It is then steeped in water in earthen jars, and more lime is added. After a few 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 



309 



days it is taken out of the jars, and having heeu well washed to free it from the 
lime, it is beaten with a wooden mallet (for about two hours) until it becomes a mass 
of pulp. A frame of netting about 6^ feet long, and of width varying from 18 to 5 
inches, is set afloat in water, and the pulp, having first been again mixed up in 
water, is skillfully poured out onto the frame so as to be equally distributed over it. 
The frame is then lifted out of the water, and a small wooden roller is ruu over the 
surface of the pulp. By this process the water is squoezed out and the pulp pressed 
together. The frame with the pulp on it is then set to dry in the sun. In the course 
of some ten hours it is quite dry, and the sheet of paper can then be lifted off the 
frame. It now only remains to smooth the surface. This is done by applying a thin 
paste of rice flour to the sur- 
face, and then rubbing it down 
with a smooth stone. (Kew 
Bull., March, 1888.) 

Stringy bark, The. Eu- 
calyptus obliqua. 

Structural fiber (see 
Classification of Fibers, 
page 25). 

Sufet bariala (Ind.). 
Sida rhomMfolia. 

Sugar cane fiber (see 
Saccharum officinarum ) . 

Sujjado (Pers.). Hibis- 
cus cannabinus. 

Sumauma ( B raz . ) . Erio- 
dendron samauma. 

Sunflower fiber (see He- 
Uanthus). 

Sunn hemp. Crotalaria 
juncca. 

Surface fiber (see Classi- 
fication of Fibers, page 

25). 

Swamp rose mallow. 

Hibiscus moscheutos. 




Fig. 98. — Tacca pinnatifida, young plant. 



Swet bariala (Ind.). Sida rhomMfolia. 

Sword rush (see Lcpidosperma). 

Taag (Ind.). Crotalaria juncea. 

Tabago silk grass (Trin.). Furcrcea cubensis. 

Tacca pinnatifida. 

A genus of perennial herbs found in tropical America, Asia, Africa, the Indian 
Archipelago, and the Pacific Islands. T. pinnatifida is an East Indian and New Hol- 
land species, growing in open places near the sea. (See fig. 98.) 

Structural Fiber. — The leaf stalks are employed as a plaiting material for hats, 
and is used by the Society Islanders for bonnets. Also made into brooms. 



310 USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 

Tah-lah-kul-kel (Seminole). Sab al palmetto. 

Tahuari (Peru). See Gouratari tauari. 

Takachii (Hopi). Hilar iajamesii. 

Talhuari (Peru). See Couratari tauari. 

Tal, Tari (Hind.), and Tal-gas (Oeyl.). Borasstis fldbellifer. 

Talipot palm (Ceyl.). See Corypha umbracuHfera. 

Tampico fiber (see Agave heteracantlia). 

Tan and Htan (Burin.). Borassus fldbellifer. 

Tang-tiau (China). Calamus rotang. 

Tanner's cassia. Cassia auriculata. 

Tapoto (New Zea.). SeePhormium. 

Tappa cloth. Also written Tapa and Kapa. See Broussonetia. 

Refer also to division C. Natural Textures, Economic classification of uses, p. 31, 
Introduction. See Brachystegia, Couratari, Daphne, Hibiscus, Lagetta, etc., for other 
cloth suhstitutes. 

Tarapota (Peru). Iriartea ventricosa. 
Tarariki. Xew Zealand flax. See Phormium. 
Tataja (Columbia). See Couratari. 
Tauary (Braz.). See Couratari. 

Taxodium distichum. 

The cypress of Xorth Carolina, which has a range from Virginia southward to 
Florida and westward to Texas. A specimen of its fibrous inner hark was sent to the 
Department for the W. C. E., 1893. It might he twisted into coarse cordage for local 
uses, hut is not utilized as far as can he learned. 

Tchou (China). T.s-o, so, shoo, a plant or tree. 
Tchou-ma (China). Boehmeria nivea. 
Teale ("Egypt). Hibiscus cannabinus. 
Tea plant (Fla.). Sida rhombifolia. 
Tecoma viminalis. 

Formerly known as Bignonia viminalis, the most commonly used name, which see. 
Tecum (Braz.). See Bactris setosa and Astrocaryum tucuma. 
TefF (see Poa abyssiniea). 
Tekapu (Xew Zea.). Celmisia coriacea. 
Tha-ma-chok (Burin.). Abutilon indicum. 
Theobroma cacao. Cocoa or Chocolate Tree. 

Exogen. Byttneracece. A tree, 16 to 18 feet. 
Native of tropical America, and in cultivation spread over the West Indies and the 
more northern countries of South America. Source of the cocoa aud chocolate of 
commerce. 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 311 

Fiber. — The bast yields a good fiber, samples of which are preserved in the Mu- 
seum of the Department. J. H. Hart, of Trinidad, says, however, that the tree is 
too valuable ever to be cut for its fiber. 

Theometl (Tuc). Agave vivipara. 

Thespesia populnea. 

Exogen. Malvaceae. A tree, 40 to 50 feet. 

The species is common on the sea shores of many tropical countries, as the West 
Indies and South America, the Pacific Islands, western Africa, and India. In the lat- 
ter country it is largely cultivated along roadsides. It yields in India a gum, a dye, 
and an oil, and is valued in pharmacy. The leaves are employed in Hindoo religious 
ceremonials. In Tahiti it is also a sacred tree, and its leaves used in ceremonials as 
in India. The wood, which is almost indestructible under water, has been much 
used in boat building; also used for cabinet work, and in Ceylon for gunstocks. 

Fiber. — There are many references to the use of its bark for fiber, but it does not 
appear to have been specially valued as a fiber plant save in Demerara, where for- 
merly its bast was employed in the manufacture of coffee bags. In India a strong 
fiber is derived from its bark, which is used in the rough state for coarse cordage for 
tying bundles of wood, etc. It is also used for cordage in Burma. The fiber, which 
resembles the better mallow fibers, is very resistant. As the species is a large tree, 
its cultivation for fiber could never become an industry. 

Thinban and Thengben (Burm.). Hibiscus tiliaceus. 
Thinbawle (Burm.). Eriodendron anfractuosum. 
Thrinax argentea. The Silver-Top Palmetto. 

Endogen. Palnuv. A low-growing fan palm, 20 to 40 feet. 

This is a well-known West Indian species, found in Cuba and Jamaica especially, 
but also abundant in semitropical Florida. Found on the Florda keys as follows: 
Elliotts, Largo, Piney, Gordon, Boca Chica, Key West, etc. The species of the 
genus are known as thatch palms, and none of them exceeds 20 feet in height. A 
common name of T. argentea, in Jamaica, is the Silver Thatch palm. Known in this 
country also as the Brickley Thatch, and Brittle Thatch. T. parviflora is the Sil- 
ver-top palmetto, found on Florida keys from Bahia Honda to Long Key. The trunk 
is used in making sponge and turtle "crawls." (See fig. 99.) 

Structural Fiber. — Both in Cuba and Jamaica the leaves of this species are 
employed in the manufacture of palm hats, baskets, and fancy articles in the same 
manner as the leaves of Florida palmettos. It has been suggested, however, that 
these articles are also made from other species which abound in the West Indies. 
The tough leaf stalks are also employed in manufacture by weaving into baskets 
and other objects. When employed as thatch material, the entire leaves are used. 
In Panama, where the palm is known as Palma de escoba, its leaves are made into 
brooms. 

A few years ago a correspondent of the Department in Cuba submitted samples of 
palmetto fiber said to have been derived from Ckamwrops liumilis (which is the African 
species yielding the Crin vegetal of commerce), but this is doubtless an error. From 
the fact that the plant, known in Cuba as Guano yarey, grows wild, and its leaves 
have long been employed for making fancy hats, hampers, etc., it is more than likely 
a species of Thrinax. The stem of the leaf of the Guano yarey was experimented 
with, and the fiber extracted was made into good cordage. It is doubtful, however, 
if fiber from the tough leaf stalks can be extracted at sufficiently low cost to compete 
with the commercial leaf fibers for which there is already adequate machinery and 
a commercial demand. The leaf stems of the saw palmetto are now treated for their 
fiber in Florida, but at best it is a coarse and imperfect cordage material. 

In the Kew Mus. mats are shown from T. morrisii made in Anguilla, together with 
a series of baskets, fancy articles, etc., from T. argentea, Cuba and Jamaica. 



312 



USEFUL FIBER PLANTS OF THE WORLD. 



Thuja gigantea. Ked Cedar. Canoe Cedar. 

Exogen. Conifera. A very large tree, 90 to 120 feet. 

Native names. —Red cedar, gigantic red cedar, Pacific red cedar, gigantic cedar, 

shinglewood, arbor vit;e of California. 

Alaska, south, along the coast rauges and islands of British Columbia, through 

western Washington and Oregon, and the coast ranges of northern California to 

Mendocino County, extending to western slopes of the Rocky Mountains and north 





Fig. 99.— Plant of Thrinax paruijlora. 



Montana. "Largely used for interior finish, fencing, cabinetmaking, and cooperage, 
and exclusively used by the Indians of the northwest coast in the manufacture of 
their canoes." (C. S. Sargent.) 

Bast Fiber. — The inner bark is a heavy layer of soft bast which the Indians of 
flic North Pacific Coast make use of in all of their industries. In their houses it 
frequently forms the roof; the units made of it serve for doors, for hangings, for 
beds, for coverings of boxes, and for ornamental purposes. In their costumes it is 



DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE. 313 

used for headdresses arid hats, and an immense number and variety of ceremonial 
headdresses are made from the material shredded. It also serves for covering of the 
body, for kilts or skirts, for cradles or cradle linings, and the soft pads that are 
placed on the heads of infants in flattening them. In their canoes the mat forms the 
covering of the seat and the soft piece on which the rower or paddler kneels. In 
fact, there is scarcely a common industry among these Indians into which this sub- 
stance does not intrude itself. (Contributed by Dr. O. T. Mason.) 

Ti. New Zealand, Cordyline indivisa. In Tahiti, G. terminalis. 
Tibisiri fiber (Br. Guian.). Mauritia flexuosa. 
Tibouchina papyrifera. 

Exogen. Melastomacece. A tree. 

Thin, paper-like strips of bast from this specie are preserved in the Bot. Mus. Harv. 
Univ., under the name Lasiandr a papyrus. They are creamy in color, and very fragile. 

Tiglio {lt.). = Tilia. 

Tilia americana. Linden. Basswood. 

Exogen. Tiliacece. A large tree, 60 to 125 feet. 

Common names. — Basswood, Am. linden, linn, lime tree, bee tree, white lind, 
wickup, lein. 

Found in New Brunswick, west to the eastern shore of Lake Superior, and north 
and west to Lake Winnipeg and the valley of the Assinniboine River, southward 
through the Atlantic States to Virginia and the Alleghany Mountains, to Alabama 
and Georgia, west and eastern Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas, the Indian Territory, 
and eastern Texas. 

"One of the most common trees in the northern forests. Largely sawn into lum- 
ber, and under the name of whitewood, is used in manufacture of woodenware, 
cheap furniture, the panels and bodies of carriages, and the inner soles of shoes. 
One of the principal woods used for paper pulp, but unfit for white paper." (C. S. 
Sargent.) 

Fiber. — The inner bark can be readily peeled into long strips of bast, which in 
this country have found occasional use as rough cordage, and for coarse woven 
mattings for nurserymen and florists with which to protect hotbeds. See T. cor- 
data, etc. 

Tilia cordata, T. platyphyllos, and T. vulgaris. 

Syn. Tilia europcea. 

Common names. — Lime, linden (English); Tilo (Span.); Tiglio (It.); Tilleu 
(Ft.). 

The above species, all of which have been known as T. europcea, are common in 
different portions of Europe. The small leaved form is indigenous to Britain, but 
the large-leaved variety is common in the south of Europe. The wood is used by 
carvers and turners, and is prized by instrument makers for sounding-boards. 

Fiber. — Like the preceding species, the bast of European lindens is readily 
extracted. It is used in Russia in the manufacture of an exceedingly coarse kind 
of rope ; for making the matted shoes worn by the peasantry, and also for the man- 
ufacture of the mats which are used to a considerable extent by furniture dealers 
for packing. They are also used by gardeners as a covering or protection to glass 
frames. For the larger and better kinds of mats, trees 8 to 16 years old are used, 
which are cut when full of sap and the bark immediately separated from trunk and 
branches. It is then stretched upon the ground to dry, two or more strips being 
placed together. When required for use simple soaking in water separates the cor- 
tical layers, the best of which are in the interior and the coarsest on the outside. 
As many as 14,000,000 pieces of matting have been